Overcoming Barriers to Collaboration

Creating a successful collaborative supply chain


  • Install to go-live in 30 days;
  • Vendor self-sign-up through supplier administrator feature;
  • Built-in training material streamlined application adoption;
  • Vendors came onboard at a rate of 50 to 100 per week; and,
  • In less than 6 months, approximately 1,200 vendors connected to WWT.

The OEM:

  • Reduced supply base by 33 percent;
  • Placed order with a single company, WWT, as opposed to thousands of vendors;
  • Reduced resources managing the purchasing operation; and,
  • Ensured that end-users at plants perceived higher service.

WorldWide Technologies realized:

  • 50-60 percent reduction/cost avoidance in accounts payable (A/P) personnel;
  • 20-30 percent reduction/cost avoidance in order processing personnel;
  • 30-40 percent reduction in personnel tasks; and,
  • 10-20 percent reduction in non-conformances at the receiving dock.

Finally, the control the system provided gave suppliers immediate access to information they never had before in real time via the Internet. Suppliers were given visibility over the accounts payable process, ensuring faster cash transfers with fewer time-consuming reconciliation transactions. Moreover, larger suppliers no longer needed representatives at assembly plants to ease information flow.

Learning from Success

As demonstrated by this case study, enabling supplier collaboration requires a structured approach that includes supplier involvement in crafting the solution, shared incentives, addressing technology and security issues, focus on visibility, control and commitment, creating rollout momentum, ongoing communications, established key performance indicators (KPI) and, finally, ongoing training and support.

To meet the increasing demands of today's global markets, manufacturers must implement collaborative supply chain solutions that streamline business processes with their increasing global supply base. With real-time visibility and control of supply chain execution to all parties, while addressing supplier issues head on, collaboration can succeed. Manufacturers can implement effective supplier collaboration processes that orchestrate "win/win" outcomes with suppliers, enabling breakthrough advances in reducing costs, enhancing quality and accelerating operations that help ensure they win today's productivity battles.

About the Author: Warren Sumner is vice president of marketing and products for ClearOrbit (www.clearorbit.com), a provider of real-time supply chain execution and reverse logistics software solutions.

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