Today’s supply chains are more complex than ever before. Businesses are facing greater volatility, more uncertainty and unprecedented and unexpected risks. The time it takes to make critical decisions is lengthening, dramatically cutting into companies’ bottom lines. Why? In large part due to the negative impacts of poor collaboration. So what’s causing this lack of communication across companies? The answer is threefold.
- Data extraction and analysis is happening in siloes. Each department is taking a vertical approach to reporting, where the focus is on individual functional metrics, instead of the health of the entirety of the supply chain network.
- Processes and functions have conflicting goals. Managers across the organization are responsible for one specific department, one set of priorities. Oftentimes they’re unaware of what other departments are doing. There’s an absence of communication between departments and business units.
- Globally distributed teams. There’s nothing wrong with having teams spread out over vast geographies, but there needs to be effective and continual communication. Without it, decisions are made with little understanding of cross-functional impact, causing minor speed bumps to become road closures.
Essentially, there’s a fundamental disconnect between the data, the processes and the people overseeing the supply chain, which is impacting the ability to collaborate. It’s time to break down these communication siloes and work together harmoniously. As outlined in our recent eBook 3 Ways to Improve Supply Chain Collaboration, this enhanced collaboration begins with connecting data. By dealing with multiple enterprise resource planning systems, modules, Excel spreadsheets and data warehouses around the globe organizations have data in more place than ever before, making end-to-end supply chain visibility impossible.
The secret to solving this challenge requires businesses to do away with all those spreadsheets and creating a more robust supply chain. Connecting processes means eliminating the firefighting and avoiding exception conditions. Standardizing routine processes can help organizations realize more effective communication, collaboration and growth. But true collaboration also requires context. That means developing more agile processes and a better picture of the end-to-end supply chain to support decision-making aimed at achieving corporate goals.
The best solutions to supply chain challenges aren’t created in isolation. Successfully streamlining any supply chain requires cooperation and collaboration among all partners, whether they’re located in the building, across the country or around the world. The speed at which organizations can connect internally with other business units and externally with select manufactures, suppliers and customers is critical to supply chain success. Sustainable collaboration isn’t an overnight accomplishment and it’s not a one-and-done project. It’s an ongoing commitment to working together toward supply chain excellence.