In Real Time: Managing the New Supply Chain

In Real Time: Managing the New Supply Chain

In Real Time: Managing the New Supply Chain

In Real Time: Managing the New Supply Chain


The age of the real-time supply chain has finally arrived. Thanks to an emerging technology construct- the Internet-based mega-portal- companies can now connect instantaneously with suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, customers, and alliance partners around the world. Online access to up-to-the-minute information enables companies to improve communication and project management across the entire supply chain, promote collaboration across departments, and enhance customer service and financial operations. The results are stunning; for example, a recent survey reports dramatic increases in revenues and customer retention and decreases in operating costs and product cycle times.

Drawing from extensive primary research, this book presents detailed examples of how organizations as diverse as Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Dell, and the U. S. Department of Defense are creating information and communication hubs online and reaping the rewards. The authors explain the basic technical and organizational infrastructure necessary for launching a mega-portal and how its successful management can have profound impact on every area and function of the extended enterprise- from strategy to logistics, product development to customer service. As competition heats up from every direction, the ability to design and manage your supply chain with precision and speed becomes a business imperative. In Real Time offers a practical blueprint for building, implementing, and sustaining supply chains in today's rapidly changing environment.


Case 1. A customer service representative in Atlanta is reviewing an incoming order over the Web. Are the products available to promise to the customer? The representative clicks the [search inventory] icon. Immediately, a software agent interrogates the global database, which includes inventories not only in the company's own warehouses across the United States but also in the warehouses of its supply chain partners in Europe and Asia. The software agent locates the requested products, calculates the guaranteed lead time to source and assemble these items, and determines the most optimal transport route to the customer's site. Elapsed time to execute this process: three seconds.

Case 2. A broker in Singapore is handling a large import order of women's garments for a major retailer. To process the inbound order, the broker needs approvals from 18 agencies that handle customs and trade approvals. The broker logs onto TradeNet, a 24/7 Internet-based system developed by the Singapore Trade Development Board, makes the request, and fills out the necessary forms online. The forms are routed through the 18 different agencies simultaneously. The entire permitting process, which used to take days, is accomplished online within 15 minutes.

These scenarios are becoming increasingly commonplace as organizations rush to embrace technology that will make them leaner and more agile—able to compete more effectively in the global business arena. These two real-world scenarios aptly demonstrate the power of . . .

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