Gaining Visibility and Control

Let’s face it, supply chains often fail. If they didn’t there would be goods in every retailer at the time you wanted to buy them. Today, companies are gaining competitive advantage, not just automating the key external business processes, but by putting in place measures that ensure they respond effectively when errors occur.

Traditional means of B2B Integration often leaves process black holes – where companies don’t know the real time status of orders shipments and payments. One of the leap frog applications of technology in B2B Integration is with Business Activity Monitoring (BAM).

BAM allows companies to manage B2B Integration solutions in real time on the basis of exceptions. Very simply companies can establish a series of alerts that manage key events in the supply chain. Tell me when a large order enters the system. Inform me when a shipment is planned for partial delivery. Inform me when the payment for key product lines are received. These simple rules and alerts can offer companies exponential returns in performance. A B2B Integration solution that doesn’t offer such BAM capabilities should not be considered for too long.

In addition to real time visibility and monitoring, B2B Integration tools can offer a series of reports that allow constant evaluation of performance. Companies can look at how often they deliver on time to customers, or how often suppliers of a particularly commodity fail to meet their commitments. These performance reports can be used by management to consistently review the ongoing business performance and make operation changes to continue to leverage results. In many B2B Integration solutions these reports can be presented in real time in the form of analytical dashboards – displaying key performance indicators to the desktop of key business executives.

Gaining visibility and control offers

  • Advanced knowledge of key supply chain process breakdowns, accelerate replacement orders or reduce production swings
  • Increased customer service through faster replenishment, improved responsiveness and more sales

These three principles articulate the value of B2B Integration – electronic connectivity to global partners, improved data quality and increased visibility and control. Importantly a successful B2B Integration strategy will also consider the current investments made by a company and provide a route to realise effective return. B2B Integration projects must then consider capabilities in ERP and business applications and offer complementary additive value. Too often B2B Integration vendors have positioned elements of their solution as competitive to a companies existing investments. This rip and replace to improve strategy impacts the return from any business integration initiative. Companies should consider complementary B2B Integration approaches. B2B Integration should feed business applications, not replace them with further point solutions.