supply chain maturity visibility

Collaboration: The Fourth Stage of Supply Chain Maturity

By Bryn Lowry

This is the fourth blog post in our series on defining, assessing and improving supply chain visibility as companies drive their digital transformation.

Supply chain maturity is essential for every organization. There are five stages of supply chain maturity, as defined by Gartner: Stage 1 – React, Stage 2 – Anticipate, Stage 3 – Integrate, Stage 4 – Collaborate, Stage 5 – Orchestrate. Greater visibility leads to increased organizational effectiveness and customer delight. A digital visibility platform enables this increased visibility, which in turn leads to increased collaboration, the name of the fourth stage of supply chain maturity.

Increasing visibility with a digital visibility platform

A company in the collaboration stage can leverage their digital visibility platform to combine different data sources from a number of diverse trade partners and suppliers into a single observable database. Within the platform, business applications provide insights into how different aspects of the business relate to each other.

In the collaboration stage, the focus is on improving the performance of an extended supply chain of trading partners. Data is coming in from both internal sources and external trading partners. A digital visibility platform enables this connectivity with trading partners and supports mature processes in this extended supply chain. By leveraging one platform and one source of data, indoor and in-transit teams increase collaboration across internal and external stakeholders.

The digital platform also provides solutions to data gaps and silos, since it is functioning as a data collection point. That data can be leveraged to change the way data is recorded, analyzed and interpreted across the entire organization. Companies that do this are considered “demand-driven,” and are fully equipped to respond to the needs of the consumer from any point of their supply chain.

Collaborating data leads to end-to-end benefits

With a digital visibility platform, users can create alerts, check status data and establish events that are visible to internal users as well as external trading partners. These features lead to benefits that include:

  • Making confident decisions with real-time IoT data
  • Accelerating and improving decision making with AI/ML
  • Providing easily accessible data across the organization by storing data in the cloud
  • Increasing savings from loss mitigation
  • Improving capabilities across the entire business

True end-to-end digital transformation relies on continuous, real-time information. By shifting from company-wide, function-based product statuses and alerts to a demand-driven value network with alerts, status data, and events that are visible across the end-to-end supply chain, companies will see an increase in top and bottom-line growth, increased savings and improved capabilities across the entire business. In fact, companies that immerse themselves into the collaborative stage with a digital visibility platform see 50-60% increases in top and bottom-line growth.

The final stage of supply chain maturity is the Orchestrate stage as defined by Gartner.  In this final stage of maturity, alerts, status and events are holistically visible, with analyses and context across the ecosystem. To learn more about the fifth stage and continue on the path to greater supply chain maturity, download our whitepaper Supply Chain Visibility Index: The Definitive Guide.