April 2009 | Sponsored | Knowledge Base

How to Close the Supply Chain Value Gap

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When it comes to IT investments in Supply Chain Management, what you see isn't always what you get (WYSIAWYG for short!). Studies indicate that there's a huge gap between what customers in various industry groups perceive as required investments and satisfaction with the delivered IT solution. Nevertheless, in today's competitive and vulnerable economy, it becomes crucial to find the right IT platform to efficiently share and manage information across the supply chain.

Historic and forecasted information has become more and more important for modern SCM professionals. A striking illustration of this is the recent fluctuation in oil pricing which brought to mind once again the vulnerability of entire supply chains to the impact of single cost-drivers. The extreme volatility of fuel costs led to a revitalized discussion over the advantages of near-shoring versus off-shoring. These types of evaluations are more accurate for those who have access to thorough data vital to performing sensitivity analysis and developing what-if scenarios that quantitatively prove their conclusions.

Panalpina believes that the global nature of Supply Chain Management requires the employment of at least two types of SCM IT solutions: SCM network and optimization tools and Global collaboration platforms for Order Fulfillment.

Panalpina's collaborative SCM platform as shown in Figure 1 acts as our customers' supply chain planning and execution arena. The scope of the application covers the autonomous and proactive managing, planning and controlling of all aspects of the purchase order cycle. Customer bookings, transport planning, cargo reception and dispatch based on the agreed service levels can be executed from within our SCM platform. This software platform fully supports the physical flows of goods in the areas of Order Management, Transport Management, Fulfillment, Warehouse and Inventory Management. Versatile reporting capabilities as well as KPI, Milestone and Schedule Management are built-in.

Technology management has become a prerequisite for the successful reengineering of our clients' supply chain sourcing process. Users throughout the Supply Chain—suppliers, hubs, carriers, corporations and customers—have the ability to share information within one platform and this gives our customers detailed information to achieve this goal. As a fully web-enabled software solution, interfaces are scalable and can be standardized to achieve plug-and-play concepts. Panalpina's IT platform provides companies with real-time visibility at all times. Robust event management and analytical tools are available. Entirely driven as a database-application, all fulfillment data can be extracted in various ways. This enables stakeholders to optimize supply and demand chains and improve network setups and flows.

In light of the logistics chain's ever-evolving nature, it makes sense for customers to outsource value-added activities. Stricter security and sustainability requirements, paired with related regulatory and compliance concerns, are leading LSPs to enhance their service activities.

By acquiring and managing knowledge through efficient and flexible design, Panalpina's IT solutions afford our customers the luxury to focus on their core competencies. We take pride in knowing that once they get a chance to experience Panalpina's sophisticated collaborative SCM platform, our customers readily agree when we say: WYSIWYG*!

*A play on the acronym, WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), used in computing to describe a system in which content displayed during editing appears very similar to the final output.

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