Supply Chain Collaboration Software
Onboarding a new vendor or supply chain partner requires several time-consuming steps. For this reason, it’s imperative to ensure that the vendor delivers the value that you are looking for throughout the course of the partnership. Unfortunately, this rarely happens in enterprise business. That’s where supply chain collaboration software can help.
What is supply chain collaboration software?
It is a growing solution that allows organizations to effectively collaborate with their suppliers upstream and customers downstream. Suppliers and buyers can establish goals, share information, and craft action plans within the software to keep everyone on the same page.
Above all else, the purpose of supply chain collaboration software is to track the desired outcomes of the partnership. The technology improves communication and alignment between partners and facilitates improved collaboration that ensures better supply chain performance.
Why is supply chain collaboration important? There are many key benefits of supply chain collaboration including:
- Partner retention: Managing supply chain talent is one of the largest business challenges, according to The Global Supply Chain Institute. By managing supply chain operations on a centralized, shared platform you can attract and retain the best supply chain partners.
- Cost reduction: While one-time partnerships are sometimes necessary, long-term collaborations impact your bottom line the most. Longer collaborations allow you to be more efficient and effective, thus keeping quality suppliers in your supply chain is extremely beneficial from a cost standpoint. Supply chain collaboration software facilitates real-time communication and transparency to help you optimize the partnership.
- Quality: Product quality is paramount to customer satisfaction, which means you need a supplier who ensures high-quality, safe products. Collaborating with suppliers on a digital platform helps you work together to ensure quality issues never arise. Technology allows you to quickly and easily track any quality or safety concerns right to the source and immediately remedy any problems.
- Efficiency:. Digital collaboration allows you to improve overall efficiency in the supply chain. Organizations can track supplier performance and work together to ensure the best outcomes in the shortest amount of time. Increased collaboration via a software solution helps all parties continuously improve and create value.
Supply Chain Visibility Software
A subset of supply chain collaboration software is supply chain visibility software. Supply chain visibility technology serves as a central hub for all key stakeholders in a specific value chain. All users can connect to review and exchange information. Additionally, real-time supply chain visibility provides the opportunity for supply chain players to remedy any issues that may cause slow downs or interrupt value delivery.
Value chain transparency is vital for achieving an optimized supply chain. It’s also crucial for high environmental and ethical standards. By helping partners quickly share data and ensure transparency, supply chain visibility software can help you improve several aspects of your business.
The supply chain visibility market often overlaps with collaboration software, but it is not quite the same. The purpose of visibility software is to define and monitor the processes you want to improve. You must outline an actionable solution—for instance, reduce excess inventory in 8 months. The next step is to connect systems, allowing you to access all of your data at once from a central location. Supply chain visibility software automatically integrates all of the technology involved in your supply chain.
Once the software integrates your value chain systems, you can instrument any application, system, or digital endpoint and surface insights from these sources as a means to monitor value creation and delivery. Many supply chain visibility technology options automatically create visual reports.
With newfound visibility, underlying issues in your supply chain are easy to spot and you can make the appropriate changes. These changes may involve communicating with your suppliers.
The supply chain visibility software market size continues to grow. You can use supply chain visibility software without the collaboration aspect, however, the best supply chain collaboration tools include supply chain visibility technology to ensure the most effective collaboration possible. Ultimately, the supply chain visibility software market greatly overlaps with the audience looking for value chain collaboration. For this reason, the best tools include visibility and collaboration capabilities.
Types Of Collaboration In Supply Chain Management
There are several different types of collaboration in supply chain management. Here are a few capabilities to keep in mind as you search for the perfect solution.
- Transactional Collaboration: Exchange data with your supply team about sales orders, work orders, credit/debit notes, invoices, and more.
- Information Sharing: Resource sharing is all about sharing key information with the entire value chain team. Resources may include contract details, desired outcomes, production forecasts, orders, production/transportation plans, and more.
- Strategic Collaboration: Strategic collaboration has to do with the design and function of the value chain. At this stage of collaboration, suppliers and partners share rewards and risks. They work together to improve forecasting accuracy, supply chain relationships, profitability, value chain events, procurement and fulfillment, and even pricing.
- Demand Collaboration: In supply chain management, it’s important to be on the same page in terms of how much demand there is for a specific product in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply.
- Digital Supply Chain: Digital supply chains are the modern standard, as they ensure greater visibility. It’s often beneficial to have a dedicated employee with digital supply chain management certification to ensure effective use of the digital tools.
Supply Chain Collaboration Examples
There are many different value chain software options on the market. Here are some supply chain collaboration examples:
SAP Supply Chain
SAP digital supply chain software is a customer-centric product aimed to help you bring products to market faster and for less. It includes a wealth of SAP supply chain features including product lifestyle management, product profitability management, collaborative supply chain network, inventory optimization, and more. They also offer the SAP learning hub, which can help team members gain the necessary SAP software skills they need to leverage the supply chain software.
More specifically, Ariba is a well-known supply chain management solution from SAP. The SAP Ariba overview highlights include:
- The software can be used for procurement and supply chain collaboration
- You can digitalize and simplify all your processes end-to-end
- It directly connects suppliers and businesses
- Both buyers and suppliers can manage the entire process and scale relationships in the platform
FourKites is a global supply chain visibility platform that many brands use. They track over 2 million shipments daily and ensure real-time visibility in your value chain. FourKites provides real-time shipment updates and seamless collaboration.
The top features of FourKites include:
- Live transportation monitoring of all shipments of every mode.
- Yard management with in-transit freight and appointment management.
- A unique combination of booking support, collaboration, document management, and end-to-end visibility.
- Access to a huge network of shippers.
Project44 is another software option for increasing visibility and communication along the value chain. Their goal is to provide seamless supply chain collaboration at every touchpoint. Project44 automates key processes to increase collaboration and performance. Enjoy an easy-to-use format for viewing automated actionable data while also counting on their excellent standards of data privacy.
MetaCX brings suppliers and buyers together to align on expected value and track value realization over time. As the next generation of enterprise software, it was created to serve both sides of the partnership. MetaCX helps you optimize the entire value chain by connecting vendors, buyers, partners, and entire teams in a shared system of record for value creation.
Ariba Supplier Management
Since Supply Chain Collaboration Ariba is one of the most well-known platforms for value chain collaboration, it’s worth taking a more in-depth look at the Ariba meaning to see if it’s the right tool for you.
Let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of this solution as well as a great alternative many companies are not aware of.
- Incorporates digital transformation into the supply chain.
- Synchronizes all transactions.
- Offers an integrated approach to value chain management.
- Integrates well with ERP.
- Offers an easy way to onboard suppliers.
- Option for SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration Certification (Also called the SAP SCM Certification). There are 80 Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration Certification questions.
- The SAP Ariba supply chain collaboration integration and configuration guide can be difficult to understand. Getting started can be challenging.
- Requires SAP Ariba supply chain collaboration training to use effectively.
- Can be laborious to customize business processes.
- Is very expensive and cost prohibitive.
- Requires a lengthy process for correcting mistakes in the system.
- Can be difficult to get support in a timely manner.
While Ariba is a well-known supply chain collaboration tool, it is far from the only option. One of the best alternatives to Ariba is MetaCX. Much like Ariba, MetaCX aims to enhance supplier/buyer relationships via digital collaboration.
Within MetaCX, collaboration is facilitated through co-owned digital spaces where two or more companies can come together to define and collaborate on desired business outcomes. Everyone invited into the shared space has equal opportunity to create, edit, and track the goals, milestones, metrics, and action plans necessary to unlock the full potential of the relationship.
To track the desired outcomes documented in the shared space, MetaCX provides a real-time data integration layer that allows buyers and suppliers to instrument any application, system, or digital endpoint and to surface insights from these sources as indicators of health and progress of the relationship.
How You Benefit
- Set clear expectations for each supplier partnership by working together to define and document your team’s desired outcomes.
- Ensure continuous alignment around your goals by collaborating with suppliers in a co-owned digital space that provides complete transparency.
- Mitigate sensitivity to data access and control by leveraging a neutral third party platform to ensure that no participant feels like they are at a disadvantage.
- Close the loop by establishing a true correlation between your investments and the achievement of your goals and objectives.
- Visualize your own data related to the use, adoption, and effectiveness of suppliers.
- Establish a consistent, repeatable process for proof of performance across your entire supply chain.