By Andrew K. Reese and Sarah Murray
Adaptable. Agile. Customer-focused. Global. Scalable. A modern supply chain must have all these characteristics (and more) as the "push" economy of yesterday gives way to the 21st century's demand-driven "pull" economy. To compete successfully in this new reality, enterprises of all sizes are turning to technology and service cproviders to help them enable their "21st century supply chains."
For this reason, this year's "Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100" feature focuses on how supply chain solution and service providers are helping their customers meet the challenges of today's marketplace. We sought to identify the leading providers of supply chain services and technologies who are at the forefront of enabling the supply chain. But more than that, we sought to uncover the best practices and processes that leading companies are putting in place around these services and technologies to bring new competitive advantage to their supply chains.
The result is a comprehensive list of "tips and tools" that small, midsize and large enterprises and organizations across a variety of vertical sectors are employing to transform their supply chain operations. Certainly not all the "best practices" included in this article will apply to your organization, but you can be certain that your competitors and partners are using many of these new practices and processes to improve their operations.
The results are grouped by functional segment of the supply chain (Order/Demand Management, Sourcing/Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, etc.), and then broken down by the different solution providers (in alphabetical order). We suggest scanning through the article section focusing on the functional segment most directly applicable to the challenges you are facing in your supply chain. Then home in on those "best practices" that stand out for their potential to help in your supply chain transformation, and use the supplied information on the service and solution providers to learn more about how the enablers are assisting their customers in making the supply chain enablement journey. Our goal is to provide a vital first step for your own transformation journey.
The 2007 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100
Digitize "tribal knowledge": To help less senior sales generate timely and accurate quotes, Ingersoll Rand implemented BigMachines Lean Front-End solution to standardize and digitize the tribal knowledge of experienced sales team members. Results: Quote cycle time reduced 75 percent, and order accuracy up 100 percent. BigMachines, Inc. (1999; Deerfield, IL; www.bigmachines.com)
Monitor the supply chain's heart beat: To better sense demand in its Asian sourcing channel, Seagate Technology has connected to customers using E2open to create inbound and outbound transparency. Results: This project made point-of-sale data visible throughout the supply chain, allowing for better customer service and a common record for distributor shipments. E2open, Inc. (2000; Redwood City, CA; www.e2open.com)
Bring electronic parts catalogs in-house: Companies use solutions like Enigma InService EPC not only to manage their catalogs more efficiently and proactively but also to leverage the EPCs as marketing tools by more easily customizing the catalogs for specific customer segments. Results: Better data quality, increased part sales, improved customer/dealer satisfaction and reduced parts mis-orders. Enigma, Inc. (1994; Burlington, MA; www.enigma.com)
Manage demand collaboratively: A top automotive manufacturer's aftermarket service parts business is using Infor solutions to collaboratively manage inventory in real-time, view local demand requirements and manage order delivery. Result: By linking more than 85 business partners and 100 suppliers, the company reached its goal of ensuring a response time of less than two days. Infor (2001; Alpharetta, GA; www.infor.com)