The Integrate Stage of Supply Chain Maturity
By Bryn Lowry
This is the third blog post in our series on defining, assessing, and improving supply chain maturity as companies drive their digital transformation.
Many supply chain organizations are challenged with data silos, which leads to inconsistent data across supply chain functions. There are many opportunities to improve supply chain maturity by harmonizing data with other functional areas such as sales, product development, and finance. IIoT systems that are based on sensor technology, for example, are enabling organizations to be fully connected – from suppliers, to manufacturers, to distributors. As a result, companies are able to anticipate and respond in real-time to changes in market and customer variables, driving enormous value for every business in a connected supply chain. This increase in visibility also propels these companies into new levels of supply chain maturity.
By gaining a better understanding of where your organization is in terms of supply chain maturity, you will be in a much better position to define, assess and improve supply chain visibility as you drive your organization’s digital transformation.
In our previous blog post, we reviewed Stage 2 of supply chain maturity, which is the Anticipate stage, as defined by Gartner. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at Stage 3 – Integrate.
In Stage 3, there is integration across core supply chain processes. The primary focus in this stage is on integrated supply chain decision-making.
According to Gartner, the Integrate stage is characterized by the following:
- Companies can continuously monitor products at the conveyance level (tote, pallet, crate, etc.) through each step of the product journey via technologies to support end-to-end supply chain processes.
- Function-based product status and alerts allow for information to flow across all businesses in the supply chain, enabling cross-functional decision-making across the internal supply chain.
- The supply chain data is aligned with areas like product development, sales, and finance.
- Applications focus on establishing visibility and performance measurement across processes.
- Organizations can leverage integrated supply chain metrics to help them predict different scenarios and assign actions across the supply chain.
New technology is available to help organizations measure visibility in their supply chains so that they can respond more quickly to disruptions. Higher visibility leads to better decision-making, which makes operations more efficient, and businesses more profitable. With the availability of supply chain digital visibility platforms, it’s possible to reach both stage 4, where the goal is to improve performance of a more extended supply chain of trading partners, and stage 5, where complex applications are focused on visibility, improving performance, and creating value across the network.
Life sciences global operations executive Maria Nieradka notes in the Supply Chain Visibility Index: The Definitive Guide that supply chain technology such as a visibility platform is a major source of competitive advantage. “The ParkourSC cloud-based solution is game-changing for Life Sciences operations leaders and the management of end-to-end product supply. It is akin to have an intelligently talking supply chain with distributed IoT sensors continuously broadcasting and communicating the status and whereabouts of the product being tracked to process and materials management,” states Nieradka.
As a review, to understand where your visibility gaps are, follow this process:
Step 1: Understand volatility and its impact on the business—demand, supply, operations, and finance.
Step 2: Identify the critical problems (lost revenue, waste, costs, lost opportunities).
Step 3: Discover high-impact dark spots across the network and make them visible capabilities.
Step 4: Leverage analytics and a data-driven visibility platform to increase visibility and drive value.
By understanding your current level of supply chain maturity, you are well-positioned to strategically map your path to the next level of maturity and business performance.
In the next blog in our series on supply chain maturity, we’ll cover collaboration, which is stage 4 of the Supply Chain Visibility Index. Companies at this stage benefit from a demand-driven value network, as alerts, status data and events are visible across the end-to-end supply chain.
To continue on the path to greater supply chain maturity, download our whitepaper Supply Chain Visibility Index: The Definitive Guide.