Invisible Visibility

Extracted 02AUG2011 from

by James LeTart

What happens when you go outside your organization to suppliers, co-packers, contract manufacturers, 3PLs, distributors and other partners? Chances are visibility across this environment is slim to none. Why is that exactly? It’s not the technology—system-to-system data sharing has been around for decades. It’s just that people don’t want to share. We’re afraid our partners won’t keep our data secure, or that they might use it somehow to take advantage of us. But the fact is supply chain leaders have been exposing their data to partners for years through networks such as Walmart’s Retail Link. The demand-driven, hyper-competitive global marketplace is forcing companies to collaborate to meet customers’ heightened demands for lower costs and faster, more personalized service. Accomplishing it requires cooperation and collaboration between all members of the value chain, and that means sharing data.