A lot has been written in the last two decades on the topic of supply chain collaboration which demonstrates the evolution of the idea of working with your supply chain partners to reduce cost, improve efficiency, and automate communications. I have read many articles describing trends, frameworks, etc. on supply chain collaboration.
Lately I have been hearing about some new types of collaboration. In St. Louis, a new collaboration is emerging between an innovation incubation center, a university, and a public utility. Their goal is to develop new ways of providing energy at scale using the skills of all three organizations to achieve a better outcome. The NPR Ted Talk Radio hour hosted a discussion about the Digital Industrial Revolution which explores the topic of artificial intelligence and human collaboration. Listening to these stories caused me think about collaboration more deeply.
So back to supply chain collaboration through business networks. Business networks allow organizations to extend the digital power and speed outside of their organizations. They directly collaborate with partners and suppliers completing the digital cycle. This substantially reduces manual processes, error rates. But can it be more?
To fully understand the supply chain ask yourself, what can your organization gain from closer supply chain collaboration?
- Is it more accurate and timely exchange of information?
- Can we get better insight into each other’s challenges?
- Can we reduce costs of operations and record keeping?
- Can we predict and plan for change that will affect both of your businesses?
- Can we gain a better understanding of how your supply chain and its products effect global issues of climate change and human rights (Made in a Free World)?
- Does the way your supply chain operate improve people’s lives and make a better planet?
Yes, collaboration with your business partners can embrace all these topics. Is it time for you to have a closer look at your supply chain and the business network that supports it?