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Supply Chain Integration
Businesses looking to streamline operations and increase their organizational efficiency know the importance of supply chain integration. By better visualizing and accessing an organization's available information, supply chain integration enhances communication among all involved in a product successfully reaching its final destination.
The business value of supply chain integration includes increased customer service, agility, and scalability. Integrating supply chains is essential for businesses competing in a highly digitized, global marketplace.
What is Global Supply Chain Integration?
The growth of international shipping and outsourcing of products has increased interest in global supply chain integration. Professionals working on global supply chain integrations understand that manufacturing and distribution take place in a global context, so supply chain integration efforts are essential to develop products and operate efficiently.
Supply Chain Integration: Definition and Challenges
The supply chain is comprised of all the individuals, organizations, technology, and resources involved in developing and selling a product. Supply chain integration is a process where all those involved in producing a product are have visibility to one another's data in a single system. Thus, one of the challenges of supply chain integration is ensuring that everyone effectively works toward the same goal, which requires coordination and alignment.
Supply chain integration — external and internal — helps create a larger ecosystem of supply chain partners and customers. Internal supply chain integration brings together departments across an organization to improve operations. Similarly, external supply chain integration streamlines the flow of materials and information between suppliers, customers, or software vendors.
Supply Chain Integration: Challenges and Solutions
One challenge facing those establishing supply chain integrations is that some companies confuse partners with vendors. Building short-term relationships should not be mistaken for the value of building long-term relationships.
To address this challenge, business leaders can identify and implement technology that will allow them to devote more time to developing business partnerships. Using information technology effectively will enable existing customers, partners, and vendors to connect better through supply chain integration.
Types Of Supply Chain Integration
What is supply chain integration? Supply chain integration organizes all the information associated with delivering a product to a customer into one shared data information system. The 4 elements of supply chain integration are:
Integrating supply chains is an important consideration for businesses competing in a globalized marketplace. The process involves aligning and integrating the activities of multiple companies involved in producing and distributing products to customers.
For example, functional integration in supply chain management reduces the fragmentation between different entities in the supply chain. Information sharing is an essential component for functional integration to work effectively. A shared management information system is vital to coordinate the activities of multiple organizations, which may include suppliers, vendors, or distributors.
Significant coordination and relationship building helps ensure that all organizations work towards one unified goal. Organizational leaders and supply chain managers play an important role in an organization's planning and implementation process, resulting in a well-coordinated supply chain integration process.
Based on the different needs for a companies' operations, business leaders should consider the advantages and disadvantages of supply chain integration. One of the key advantages is enabling better visibility into shipment activities, helping ensure all the needed products and materials are in place when required and on time. Supply chain integration enables organizations to save time and costs and improve systemwide efficiencies and performances by reducing delays during the supply chain process.
Some significant business value adds of establishing supply chain integrations include increased customer service, agility, and scalability. Integrating supply chains is an essential consideration for all types of businesses. Supply chain integration allows companies to streamline operations. An integrated system that stakeholders across a system can access improves communication.
Rather than working in silos, this kind of approach is especially advantageous because it unifies a company's business processes and operations to improve the final product and customer experience.
Supply Chain Integration Example
Business leaders can take steps to prepare the organization for the time needed to plan and implement a well-coordinated supply chain integration process. As one supply chain integration example, freight forwarders have used a range of supply chain integration strategies to assist with anything from streamlining data into their TMS, having better visibility into their shipments, and preparing documentation for customs officials.
Freight forwarders use a variety of modern technologies to manage their supply chains and mitigate supply chain issues. One of the main benefits of supply chain integration for the freight forwarding industry is improving overall efficiencies and eliminating wasted time and manual data re-entry for their teams. There continue to be new strategies and integration solutions for organizations to meet unique customer needs.
Scalable practices and ways to stand out above competitors is even more critical in a global market. Four "building blocks" (or elements) of supply chain strategy include integration, operations, purchasing, and distribution. Supply integration strategies have enabled companies to overcome challenges, limitations, and threats imposed on their businesses.
Supply Chain Integration Strategies
Along with internal integration and external integration, there are several other types of supply chain integration strategies. Two of these strategies are known as functional integration and distributor integration. Functional integration in supply chain management reduces the fragmentation between different entities in the supply chain. Information sharing is an important component for functional integration to work effectively. All information is shared equally across the supply chain to improve efficiency.
Functional integration overcomes some of the regulations and challenges experienced in the freight industry. The second type of supply chain integration strategy is distributor integration, which is also considered essential for supply chain management.
Cloud-based supply chain integration platforms, like Chain.io, improve communications between suppliers and distributors and allow for the more effective management of data. Companies increasingly invest in digital tools because future work efficiencies depend significantly on increased collaboration.
Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management allows businesses to automate data and integrate this information into a systemwide platform or TMS. When companies automate all of their data across the entire organization, they gain real-time insights into their supply chain network and overall operations.
Supply Chain Definition
A supply chain is defined as the sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a product or a commodity. The supply chain integration Wikipedia definition is: “A supply chain refers to the network of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in delivering a product or service to a consumer.”
Supply Chain Issues
Increasingly, organizational leaders in operations, innovation, and customer success are interested in supply chain analysis and understanding the best strategies for supply chain management.
One of the vital supply chain issues is how best to use all the available information technology most efficiently and cost-effectively. Many freight-forwarders and shippers rely heavily on legacy technologies which can have outdated information or be hard to connect to. During supply chain disruptions, like the COVID-19 crisis, forwarders and shippers need access to all of their data so they can quickly answer customer questions. Supply chain disruptions can be overcome through better data visibility enabled by supply chain integrations.
Transportation Management System Integrations
For many logistics service providers, they don't have access to a variety of data types, like visibility data, directly in their Transportation Management System or TMS. Some of the biggest TMS providers, like Cargowise, Magaya, and Descartes, can be easily connected to using Chain.io's pluggable component architecture and pre-built adaptors. Setting up a transportation management integration, Cargowise integration, Magaya integration, or Descartes integration, can be done in a matter of weeks, giving forwarders easy access to handle complex tasks directly within their TMS.
Supply chain management allows companies to automate data and integrate nearly any type of information in any format into a systemwide platform or TMS, which is vital for meeting customer success goals, improving communication, and ensuring that all the different moving parts of a system can communicate with each other.
Data automation can help businesses in a few crucial ways. First, data automation ensures that accurate real-time data is accessible, regardless of the number of customers or hours a company operates. Second, increased data automation and connectivity between systems allow employees to dedicate more time to other essential tasks that can lead to long-term success for a company.
While technology is essential to data automation processes, tremendous benefits occur when supply chain data automation integrates into the central platform or TMS. As a result of automating the available data and combining these insights into the overall operations, companies can have real-time visibility across an entire supply chain network. This is an excellent benefit for operations since employees and stakeholders across an organization will no longer have to check multiple systems to access different data types.
They may also enjoy the convenience of not having to log in to or access many other software programs or systems and can instead access a shared view of the same information. In addition, customers gain real-time visibility and can see updates as a shipment moves closer to its destination.
Finally, data automation improves accuracy and reduces human errors during data input processes. In summary, using supply chain data automation allows employees to focus their efforts on ways to improve organizational operations and productivity. Automating data can positively impact whether products are delivered and received on time.