For your business to compete on a global scale in any industry, you need to have your supply chain vendors connected. A well-maintained network of supply chain vendors will keep your company in operation at all times. Optimized interactions between vendors are critical to this process. Discover how you can rethink the way you collaborate with vendors to improve scalability and long term success.
Understanding Collaboration on the Global Scale
When you are collaborating effectively, everyone has access to the necessary tools and knowledge. You are also sharing this information in real-time across all stakeholder groups. This way they are not having to communicate back and forth an unnecessary amount of time. Here is where you want to define the system for your company that will ensure you balance that practice. Start with the three levels of supply chain collaboration.
Level 1: Transaction Integration
Transaction integration involves all of the technology and processes involved in conducting sales transactions. This requires the use of the internet, EDI, mobile devices, and other tools. You are also talking about all of the documents you need to maintain for your organization. At the transactional level, these are invoices, POS information, work orders, sales orders, and credit notes.
As a side note, if you are automating your system, now is the time to do that. This allows you to set up everything from Day One, saving you a ton of time on backtracking and digital document transfer. Otherwise, you can expect to spend a ton of time digitizing all of your documents. Plus, you gain the benefit of having all the big data that comes with automation.
You can quickly zip through files and folders searching for keywords, dates, images, and dollar amounts. Along with saving time in file management and information access, you also are getting key data you can use to evaluate for your supply chain management system. This brings up the next level in the process.
Level 2: Supply Chain Management Information Sharing
The supply chain management information sharing system is where the decision making happens. The use of the internet, EDI, and proprietary tools, once again, come together to help you manage information sharing. Partners and leaders are able to share a ton of information in this manner. You can access bills of materials (BOMs), allocations, production forecasts, and product availability. This way you can better prepare for the upcoming runs and seasonal fluctuations more efficiently without having to second-guess the information.
When you have the right supply chain management information system in place, you can get updates on pricing, promotions, allocations, and contract terms from wherever you are located. This makes globalization more easily obtainable for any size business. You are able to travel and work remotely and with partners from wherever you are located. Share everything from product descriptions to details about production and transportation plans and capacities. Speaking of sharing, let's talk about strategic collaboration, the final piece in this three-part puzzle.
Level 3: Strategic Collaboration
To continue scaling your business, you need to focus on planning and process redesign. This will keep your systems in check whether the forecasts go haywire or the product capacities are put to the test. Sales strategy, pricing plans, profitability, a production facility network expansion all come out of the strategic collaboration process.
This is instrumental for you to take the transactional data and supply chain management data and transfer that into knowledge that can be shared. This information is shared among your leadership and then trickled down to those employees working for you. This trickle-down is crucial, which is why you have to cement strategic collaboration for your company from the get-go.
Benefits of Collaboration With Vendors
As you and your colleagues work to navigate the supply chain, you can anticipate several positive results. For starters, you will be better capable of managing your inventory so to plan for production runs, ordering of materials, and pricing over the long term. This will enable you to better plan when out-of-stock levels are reached. You also improve lead times, which gives your customers increased satisfaction as you’ll see indicated by improved customer service metrics. Happier customers mean more sales, which allows you to scale up as a business and gain that ROI that you are expecting when you maximize collaboration with your supply chain vendors.
We here at GT are a different kind of valued partner within this ecosystem. While we may not deal in inventory logistics and factory sensors directly, our platform enables the transparency and delivery of the documents needed to keep these aspects of your business moving. Want to learn more?