There's no silver bullet, and more work remains to be done. But-and it's a big "but"-a fully integrated, network-based community of trading partners can provide the foundation to drive business intelligence in terms of visibility and event management.
This platform can provide complete end-to-end visibility, preferably at the SKU level. Once you have that, you can see into your supply chain and determine what's causing the most common disruptive bugaboo: Transit-time variability. Simply put, if you have variability, you need inventory to cover potential stock-outs if you don't perform well. On the other hand, if you can see inside the entire supply chain, you can determine what's causing the variability.
Some things can be fixed with corrective action. Some things can't be fixed, so you may need to either adjust your plans or alter your supply chain to remedy the situation. The long-term benefit, however, is having the core tools to do an accurate diagnostic and break-fix that will drive continuous improvement of supply chain reliability and predictability. With a reliable and predictable supply chain, you can produce trust in performance-and when you do that, you remove excess inventory in the pipeline. This is one of the major levers in producing bottom-line value from improving supply chain performance.
The ability-and capability-from a process and technology standpoint is in its infancy. No one has mastered it yet, but the opportunities exist to improve supply chain performance markedly to drive out real and meaningful value across the enterprise.
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