blue-binary-code-jigsaw-puzzleThe supply chain discipline is young. As professionals in the field we are just now starting to learn from past mistakes and develop best practices. We are searching for innovative tools to help streamline processes, cut waste and increase visibility. As a group we are starting to have discussions around big data, analytics and the integration of machines that communicate and learn over time, as part of the greater internet of things (IoT).

The challenge? Software companies have not caught up with the needs of the industry.

Leading companies have been using integrated enterprise resource management (ERP) systems since the 1980s; more than 60% of all SMBs in the US are still not utilizing such platforms and their information storage is fragmented. Furthermore, those who are using these systems suffer from lack of communication between modules, and therefore remain stuck in decision making without real time information.

Organizations that have taken the leap to integrating their business management systems rarely have an easier time gaining visibility and real time information. Software companies develop solutions in silos, they do not collaborate with each other and create platforms that mimic the static vertical structures of organizations. These outdated structures fail to empower teams within organizations to make the most informed decisions. A recent study shows that there is a breakdown in communication between sales, operations and finance in more than 45% of all integrated business solutions.

There are no benefits to inventing working capital in hosted or cloud based solutions, and employee training on new platforms if he solutions are limited by design. The software and technology that will empower the supply chains of the future allows real time, seamless knowledge sharing across multiple departments and network participants. To maintain competitive advantage in a global economy where consumer’s desires are constantly changing companies must utilize consensus based collaborative forecasting and planning within their supply chain teams and networks.

To optimize supply chain decision making actors require a platform that supports collaborative and iterative simulation taking into account all constraints across the network and integration of PoS data for accurate forecasting.

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