With a viable internet connection and just a few clicks, you can find the average weight of a panda bear (answer: 250 pounds) or the GDP of the United States ($19390.60 billion). With all this information available at our fingertips, it’s ironic that retailers still can’t find a way to get accurate, timely data from global suppliers and service providers across the supply chain. Even today, the communication disconnect remains their biggest challenge.
It may seem the answer entails a complex web of logistics and a sophisticated arrangement of high-tech bells and whistles. But really, it’s pretty simple. All it takes is a little C-suite investment in a multi-enterprise supply chain platform.
By blending real-time, simultaneous communication across internal and external processes of the supply chain, the multi-enterprise platform acts as a source of truth for every order. All participating parties can operate on a single connection and share information in real time. And retailers can quickly adjust orders according to shared data. Whether it’s a quality assurance issue or a shipment delay due to inclement weather, retailers can be in the know and respond on the spot, preventing the ultimate business no-no: customer dissatisfaction.
Those are just some of the benefits of the multi-enterprise approach, but there are so many more. Here are the top five needle-moving perks of a multi-enterprise supply chain platform:
Integration and visibility
Do you ever get the feeling your suppliers and service providers are oceans away, operating independently without your knowledge? Truth is, they might be. Without a multi-enterprise approach to supply chain management, you’re often left in the dark when it comes to aligning business processes and sharing data. And that’s a recipe for disaster—think inventory imbalances, inefficient transactions, and lost revenue. Multi-enterprise networks are all about breaking down those barriers to create complete transparency across the supply chain. By integrating strategies, plans, and operational capabilities with those of your business partners, you invite visibility into all processes and extended networks, synchronizing information and communication in real time. Furthermore, all parties can lend a hand in analyzing data, make sense of collected information, and share insights.
Because the multi-enterprise platform is integrated in such a way to provide instant communication to all parties at the same time, users can guarantee they receive the most accurate, up-to-date information regarding every facet of the supply chain. This extensive exchange is made possible by a number of functionalities within the multi-enterprise platform, including data aggregation from multiple sources, like point-of-sale and point-of-order technologies. That information is recorded and delivered to retailers in order to determine more accurate accounts of customer demand. From there, retailers can then apply this knowledge and recalculate forecasts. Why is this important? Well, according to our Supply Chain Visibility Survey, nearly 41% of retailers experience frequent inventory imbalances, while 13% deal with them all the time. These imbalances erode profit margins and lead to tied-up capital, so it’s important to have an accurate projection of top-selling products.
Where the traditional supply chain model is based in linear communication, the multi-enterprise supply chain model is all about synchronized exchange of information. And where the former struggles with integration, the latter thrives. This means the multi-enterprise network not only allows for a shared data set, but it also provides users the ability to use that data to make intelligent business decisions on the spot. Retail executives have even taken this a step forward, using the integrated data to better predict events and act accordingly. The extensive connectivity of the multi-enterprise network enables all supply chain participants to collaboratively aggregate and segment information for trend analysis, automate business rules and responses to alerts, and recommend actions based on performance criteria. What better way to get ahead of the curve? You can read more about supply chain optimization in our e-book, found here.
We can all agree: the true mark of business success is whether you’re making money. But as big as a company is by brand name or recognition, it’s only considered profitable if the ledger says so. This is where the benefit of a multi-enterprise supply chain platform truly shines. In addition to its suite of supply chain solutions, from collaboration, product creation, and sourcing, to PO and global trade management, the multi-enterprise platform also integrates with machine learning and AI technology, which both help retailers eliminate blind spots in the supply chain by delivering in-depth insights into supplier production. This way, retailers can make order changes quickly according to intelligent data and reduce inventory imbalances, lower risk, and save a ton money.
The biggest obstacle to progress is standing still. So when your business is based in the ever-evolving world of retail, there’s really no choice but to keep moving. A multi-enterprise supply chain platform can help with that. Its network functions through the interconnected exchange of information surrounding customer demand, supplier collaboration, and logistics. And with this constant flow of real-time data, retailers can measure supply chain performance against customer feedback. They can even make corrective decisions, such as rerouting or expediting a shipment, in order to meet customer demand. No matter the issue, the platform’s continuous stream of data and activity allows users to review, correct, and optimize performance by the second. That for sure will keep you moving.
Want to dig deeper into the benefits of multi-enterprise networks? Check out our white paper, “Multi-Enterprise Platforms Provide New Lending Opportunities.” And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out any time.