As the company’s Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO), James is used to receiving complaints and follow-up emails from different stakeholders. But today, he received an unusual message from Brent, their CEO.
Daily dose of supply chain complexities
Every day, James has to contend with different supply disruptions, from common events –– such as delivery delays, quality defects, and varying weather conditions –– to major events including natural disasters, supplier financial instability, and political unrest.
Last quarter, he was put on the hot seat. His boss wanted to know why they failed to respond appropriately to the sudden surge in demand for their products.
“Our supply of polyethylene was inadequate. Our supplier could not fulfil our order because they were still recuperating from Hurricane Irma. We tried to source from other suppliers, but it took us so much time to onboard one,” he explained during their meeting.
“How did it impact our sales, Norman?” asked Brent.
“Due to insufficient inventory, we failed to meet client requests for that product line, Brent,” replied Norman, their Sales Director. “And for other product lines, many customers have cancelled their orders due to delays.”
“Yeah. We overlooked prior orders and delivery requests for other product lines because we were so engrossed in the supplier problem,” James confessed.
“It also resulted in higher costs,” said Jason, the CFO. “The production team had to work overtime.”
The CEO was silent, but James knew what was running in his head.
Lost in the Cloud
Frustrated, he consulted John, their CTO. He described the challenges they were facing including the difficulty in driving speed, efficiency, and agility in the supply chain –– as well as the business –– and controlling costs while ensuring the quality, delivery, and availability of supply.
“The complexities have tripled since we embraced omnichannel marketing and a customer-centric approach,” he told John. “Our sourcing, procurement, and logistics teams cannot keep up. That’s why I want a supply chain revamp, but I don’t know where to start.”
John proposed that they should automate and completely migrate their supply chain management to the Cloud. He said their traditional methods lacked the flexibility they need to be able to quickly and appropriately respond to their changing business landscape.
After the Cloud migration, they saw a radical improvement in their supply chain management. The Cloud offered them many competitive advantages. But their supply chain data management and data integration problems were not completely solved. Data silos remained a challenge because their data was scattered across the different Cloud systems and applications they and their B2B partners used.
James met again with John to share his thoughts about their cloud migration.
“John, I want a tool that can enable me to put everything at my fingertips –– something that will allow me to collaborate in real-time with all supply chain actors and converge all supply chain data and activities into a single, unified view that is accessible anywhere, anytime.”
“Hmmm. That’s possible but I’ll need to get back to you on that,” promised John.
But James was very eager to find the solution right away. One day, as he was unclogging his inbox, he happened to notice an email from Liaison Technologies, sharing a blog on the key issues in supply chain management and how to overcome them. After reading the blog, he immediately reached out and set a meeting with a Liaison integration and data management expert.
The game changer
The Liaison representative explained how their supply chain management problems largely stemmed from their organization’s inability to corral and make sense of an overwhelming amount of data scattered across different processes, sources, and systems. He underscored that despite their move to the Cloud, their key processes –– such as data collection, collaboration, and “what-if” scenarios creation –– remained highly manual. He also pointed out their heavy reliance on human middleware.
“I agree. Our planning and decision making are mostly cadence-based. We don’t have the capabilities required to enable full transparency into critical links in supply chain processes. We cannot obtain the full supply chain visibility we need to better predict and prevent disruptions and inventory imbalances,” James confessed.
“I’d like to know how the Liaison ALLOY® Platform can address our problem,” he added.
The Liaison representative explained how their data integration platform differs from other integration solutions like iPaaS and how it uniquely addresses supply chain management problems. Its newly improved LENS® feature captured James’ interest the most.
“It’s a unique, cloud-based business activity monitoring tool that can provide you complete transparency and real-time visibility into all B2B and A2A integration patterns and supply chain data flows,” he explained. “Because it is cloud-based, it allows you to securely access information from anywhere, anytime.”
“Our newly improved LENS® features a user interface that is even more intuitive. It allows you to connect your digital ecosystem and create real-time monitoring and alerts for events in third-party systems –– including CRM, ERP, and other business applications. It can help you comprehensively visualize business workflows across systems within a single location.”
He demonstrated how it works and James was really impressed. He learned that its Dashboard Page can enable him to aggregate and share transaction data and metrics with other users as well as monitor the performance of their supply chain processes from one location. He can personalize it by customizing widgets for charts, trend analysis, transaction lists, transaction count summaries, and much more!
The LENS® Transactions Page, on the other hand, allows for viewing, filtering, and analyzing transactional data in real time. With just minimal clicks, he’ll be able to view the details and status of individual transactions.
It also has an Events Page which simplifies monitoring of events in real time and allows users to set parameters to trigger notifications. The page lists specific types of events that have occurred. Its Monitoring Page can enable him to configure and view alerts for conditions that are met.
After the demonstration, James was convinced to supercharge their supply chain management with Liaison’s ALLOY® Platform to take advantage of its features, particularly the LENS® component. But first, he knew that he needed to get the boss to buy in.
A few months later, James received this message from Brent:
“I got the sales report just now and saw that our margins on our entire product lineup have improved! You’re doing great, James. Let’s celebrate when I return!”