Visibility and Its Importance in Supply Chain Execution Convergence

I spoke at the Gartner Supply Chain Summit in May about Supply Chain Convergence in the enterprise, the following is a high-level recap of my presentation "Successful Supply Chains are Converging around their TMS – is Yours?"

Today’s supply chain and procurement managers face more challenges than ever before.

Back in May I spoke at the Gartner Supply Chain Summit about the ways software can be used to help alleviate these challenges.

I started out the session by explaining the importance of the proper execution of supply chain activities, from global trade and the movement of goods to storage, and how this happens through the use of information and data to provide visibility and collaboration.

What is Supply Chain Execution Convergence?
Supply chain execution convergence (SCEC) is a growing trend in the logistics realm, but it’s a concept that first surfaced in 2009 in a Gartner report.

At its most basic, SCEC brings together the different enterprise departments that manage the end-to-end supply chain, breaking down the silos among warehousing, manufacturing, transportation, etc. to get people collaborating in more meaningful ways.

By 2013, the thought process behind supply chain execution convergence started to be adopted, but it was not being implemented and applied within the business. Departments were still concerned with hitting their individual goals – not the overall goals of the enterprise. This started the conversation on addressing the need for visibility across silos, which is taking off today as part of supply chain execution convergence.

How Will It Get Done?
I stressed – with the help of Dr. Seuss, no less – that everybody in the enterprise needs to take ownership for making supply chain execution convergence a reality.

There are two main steps to achieving SCEC:

  1. Internal Supply Chain Execution Convergence: This may be the hardest step, because multiple teams are using multiple systems that work for them. Is optimizing resources on a team-by-team basis really best for optimizing the business overall? The goal is to look at the business as part of SCEC by getting systems aligned and connecting the use of them – and then optimizing that usage to the whole business process.
  2. External Supply Chain Execution Convergence: Suppliers and partners can complicate this step, with multiple partners causing discrepancies in IT capabilities and processes. As the network grows, so do the systems, which creates more challenges to address.

What Does Your Business Model Look Like?
During my presentation I posed the question “Do you have connected, integrated systems? And if so, who is in control?” I discussed visibility – and driving ownership over the visibility team and with suppliers and customers – and how it is becoming an increasingly important overall strategy.

I explained that the one common element in the supply chain is transportation, from end to end. Transportation is what connects each step – from the manufacturer’s floor to the packaging to final delivery to the end user. As supply chain execution convergence becomes more widespread, the transportation aspect will grow in importance because it links the supply chain to the end customer.

Webcast: What’s Needed for Supply Chain Execution Convergence

Supply chain execution convergence (SCEC) is more than a buzz word. It’s a necessity for today’s global supply chain. If supply chain players aren’t operating on interconnected systems, or using a common end-to-end process to connect to all their partners, achieving supply chain excellence is nearly impossible.

During this thought-provoking webcast (above) you’ll learn how supply chain execution convergence (SCEC) helps shippers break down these age-old barriers and tap into supply chain functionality that allows them to more effectively serve their customers, adapt to changing business cycles, and save both money and resources.

Gain valuable insight on:

  • What factors are driving SCEC adoption

  • The differences between internal and external convergence

  • The implications of SCEC on the future supply chain

How CLX Logistics and Other Customers Are Using SCEC
At the Gartner summit I introduced Mike Skinner, Vice President of CLX Logistics, who explained that the businesses his company is working with are becoming increasingly global, which is further driving the need for integrated transportation and supply chain solutions.

Mike shared a few case studies of CLX partners using supply chain execution convergence, transportation management systems (TMS) and procurement. His first example was from a vehicle manufacturer that was revamping a broken transportation process to include increase visibility and lower total fright costs and rethink the supply chain process on a global scale. The company uses a software-as-a-service solution to track what is happening each step of the way, significantly improving relationships with transport providers.

Other examples included going in the other direction. One company’s transportation strategy was borne out of its supply chain and deployed globally, but there was no optimization or integration between the supply chain, transportation methods and delivery. Supply chain execution convergence helped fill this gap and revamp inter- and intra-region delivery.

The Future is Supply Chain Execution Convergence
At Kewill we believe supply chain execution convergence is the future. The supply chain is moving on to embrace omni-channel and customers who expect goods delivered whenever and wherever they want them. Transportation is becoming much more dynamic and is often a key differentiator between competitive companies.

Ultimately we believe that transportation teams are the ones responsible for spreading the gospel about supply chain execution convergence and making sure it is embraced throughout a company. And it’s important to remember what Dr. Seuss’ Lorax said: “It’s not about what it is, but what it could become.”

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BluJay empowers you to optimize your company’s future in the global economy. Does that mean we help make you a superhero? Yes, pretty much. Picture yourself gliding out across the blue sky, an army of 40,000 carriers and supply chain partners as your rocket boosters. You join forces with 7,500 other heros (yes, our customers) in more than 100 countries. The mission is to forge the modern Global Trade Network of the future and save the world from traditional supply chain logistics.

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