Sharing information key to successful supply chain collaboration

28 March 2012

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28 March 2012 | Adam Leach

Buyers and suppliers agree that when it comes to collaboration the sharing of information is key to supply chain success.

Collaborative Execution: Speed, innovation and profitability, published this week by SCM World, found that around half of buyers (49.1 per cent) see the sharing of information, such as supply capacity and delivery lead times, as most important to collaboration. The picture is similar from the supplier side with 40.8 per cent wanting buyers to keep them up to date with forecasts, future plans and promotions.

In a case study within the report, Gerry Fay, chief global logistics and operations officer at electrical component manufacturer Avnet, explained how important information sharing is to him. “It is vital we have those windows to ensure transparency so we can effectively share information and data around sales and operations planning, supply demand and so forth,” he said. “When there is latency and more real-time visibility, this is where collaboration creates benefit for us. In this sense, transparency across our end-to-end supply chain ecosystem again becomes critical as it enables us to more effectively balance supply and demand.”

The study, which is based on the responses of 374 senior supply chain executives, also found that buyers and suppliers placed similar value on partners dedicating resources to work specifically with them. A total of 43.5 per cent of buyers identified this as important compared with 32.5 of suppliers. On the buyer side, 25.3 per cent identified suppliers sharing cost savings with them as of the highest importance.

In order to strengthen collaboration the study recommended: assigning an individual or team to work on trading partner relationships; consciously mapping information flows between partners to assure consistency and timeliness; and sharing the benefits of collaboration fairly between partners.


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