Monday, March 3, 2014

"Cloud" in improving global supply chain management

Supply chain in the context of global economy has faced more and severe challenges due to the increased complexity of the supply chain networkSupply chain management is on the way to find their way that enables more efficient means of collaboration, communication, shared risk and orchestration. 
The technology trend that is occurring in the field of supply chain, according to Intermec Technologies Corporation, are:
1. Comprehensive connectivity – from 802.11 wireless LAN technologies, cellular networks, Bluetooth
2. Voice and GPS communication integrated into rugged computers
3. Speech recognition
4. Digital imaging
5. Portable printing
6. 2D & other bar coding advances
9. Remote management

10. Wireless and device security

The NO.1 technology change is the comprehensive connectivity, which is aimed to enhance the collaboration among the supply chain networks.

The video from the GT Nexus, which is a technology company in supply chain management, talks about the application of "cloud" technology in the field of supply chain. The benefit of "cloud" compared to previous software systems in supply chain such as ERP. The application aspect and successful cases that deployed the "cloud" in supply chain.

A study done by SCM World have researched the aspects that cloud computing can improve the supply chain performences with some empirical evidences. 
The points include:
Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP), Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Spare Parts Management and Store Shelf Optimization are the four supply chain strategies that are the most cloud-friendly and have the greatest potential to deliver the network effect throughout a supply chain.
Cloud computing adoption in supply chains is heavily dependent on the legacy ERP systems in place, as they provide the system of record corporate-wide.
Companies continue to lean on their IT departments to do more with less.
Only 12% of enterprises have “extensive” communications with their network, while over a quarter are still relying on emails, phone calls and faxes.
The majority of suppliers (60%) have a moderate level of collaborative execution with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and other automatic/scheduled communications being commonplace.
On-boarding new trade partners continues to be problematic for the majority of supply chain organizations with less than 30% of a recent survey of 374 respondents claiming they had no problems  “connecting or on-boarding new trade partners.”  
46% of respondents report that greater supply chain collaboration leads to problems being solved twice as fast.  

From the views above, Cloud is an effective technology to be applied in supply chain management through enhance the information flow among each link of supply chain, increase visibility and a better collaboration between different partners. 

The concern which the cloud may put threat on supply chain management is the security of information on which the cloud computing is based. Will the large information and data being moved into cloud create risk on the security of information? 


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