What’s the biggest supply chain silo?

What’s the biggest supply chain silo?

Readers shine a light on the most significant information lapses and data gaps in the supply chain, from transportation siloes to the lack of visibility into suppliers.

The origin and destination offices for importers’ supply chains are not simply adjacent silos, they are orbiting planets. Bring both sides together on a central supply chain management platform so they can work together in real time on the same shipment file.

—Bryn Heimbeck
Trade Tech

The lack of a platform that integrates data and provides visibility to volume, dwell, railcar availability and train bunching, and truck capacity and driver shortages.

—Tom Martucci
Chief Technology Officer
Consolidated Intermodal Technologies

Data. From suppliers not sharing data with producers to manufacturers not knowing when to ramp up or down staffing, the lack of good data or lack of access to it can hurt everything from productivity to shipping.

—Carl Schweihs
President and COO
a TrueBlue company

The disconnect between strategic planning and day-to-day tactical supply chain optimization. The functional areas that contribute to both ends should collaborate to make deliberate trade-offs to remain aligned overall with the big-picture strategy. Give enough latitude to respond to daily business needs—but without jettisoning strategic progress.

—Troy Prothero
SVP, Product Management, Supply Chain Solutions
Symphony RetailAI

Sales and operations teams are often disconnected. Lacking a unified view of the customer leads to a weak, inconsistent customer experience—and lost sales. Customer relationship management software helps put everyone on the same page.

—Mark Buman
Chief Revenue Officer

Ineffective packaging management causes shortages, loss, expedited freight, and an overall poor performing supply chain. To break this silo, companies must look at their supply chain holistically and implement a packaging and asset management system.

—Mike Garcia
Market Manager—RPM
ORBIS Corporation

Compliance. Despite impacting nearly every aspect of how goods are shipped (packaging, documentation, carrier selection, etc.), compliance responsibilities are often separated by business unit, function, or location. Establish reliable and repeatable processes across all divisions and locations and integrate compliance into other operational systems, including TMS, WMS, and ERP.

—Mario Sagastume
VP Software & Customer Success

data flow throughout the supply chain. Embedding cross-functional metrics, dashboards, and (ideally) organization enables informed decision making, transparency, and value company-wide. The more teams know about the full value chain, the more successful each team will be.

—Omer Abdullah
Co-founder and Managing Director
The Smart Cube

In forward logistics, products are identified by universal product codes (UPCs). However, when a product is returned, there is no system to identify it. To break down this silo, I advocate for a reverse UPC classification structure based on specific conditions and accessories to facilitate faster refurbishment, accounting and reconciliation, and resale.

—Scott Huddle
Chief Supply Chain Officer

Lack of visibility across modes can create silos, especially for global shippers that combine ocean, air, intermodal, and over-the-road transportation. Working with a provider that offers technology and expertise across modes is critical to gaining visibility and ensuring exceptional service.

—JJ Schickel
Omni Logistics

The lack of shared networks. Collaboration up and down the value chain to drive business-critical process is still driven by antiquated systems that are incredibly manual or inflexible. Disruptive organizations are empowering agile teams to innovate their processes continuously while remaining connected.

—Peter Rifken
Principal Solutions Consultant

Traditional linear supply chains prevent companies from looking beyond the first tier, leaving the global flow of goods and materials vulnerable to disruption. A digital business network brings trading partners together for better visibility and collaboration.

—Tony Harris
SVP and Head of Marketing & Solutions
SAP Business Network

The biggest silo is between planning, procurement, and sourcing. Primarily driven by a lack of data transparency and integration, this is exacerbated by insufficient resources and unclear business processes. A digital supply chain platform that provides a single source of data and integrates business processes is the key to breaking down this silo.

—Lachelle Buchanan

The biggest supply chain silo is data. There is so much information being exchanged across the supply chain—between ERP systems, carrier and 3PL systems, bills of lading, customs declarations—but they all exist in separate systems. Unifying this data is key to true supply chain visibility.

—Tony Pelli
Practice Director, Security and Resilience

Systems integration across the supply chain from manufacturing, inbound transportation, warehousing, and outbound transportation is one of the biggest silos within the supply chain. For most companies, different systems are used to run their business across the four functions of their network. Most of the time, the manufacturing systems doesn’t talk to the inbound side or their warehouses. This makes forecasting and labor planning more difficult for each portion of the supply chain.

—Greg Forbis
EVP of Strategy and Business Development
RJW Logistics Group

Data silos across logistics operations. Estimates show 69% of companies don’t have a holistic view of their supply chain. Shipment visibility solutions can provide end-to-end tracking of the location and condition of shipments across multimodal supply chains. Reducing dwell times, improving ETAs, and customer delivery schedules are critical.

—Stuart Ryan
Vice President, Other Industries Sales
HERE Technologies

Primary silos are between sourcing/buying, planning, and operations. Leaders must look holistically at their operation, opposed to focusing on each function, helping to streamline processes, evolve physical networks, and implement solutions to drive insight and innovation. This can be done through more advanced digital capabilities, clear leadership alignment and data-driven decisions support tools with cross-functional input and enterprise objectives.

—Matt Comte
Operations Transformation Practice Leader

Lack of transparency around efficiency and trailer utilization in over-the-road shipping. Our research estimates more than 50% of trucks are currently moving underutilized. Filling trucks to capacity through AI-created shared truckloads and publishing metrics help break this silo.

—Chris Pickett
Chief Strategy Officer
Flock Freight

The dock environment is a vital component of the supply chain. However, it can be a bottleneck, caused by inefficient, disparate, and antiquated systems. Integrating technology and hardware to empower dock associates to connect to systems on the move creates those all-important commodities in the supply chain—speed and accuracy.

—Ravi Panjwani
SVP, Marketing and Product Management
Brother Mobile Solutions

The biggest supply chain silo is transportation. Providing transportation visibility across the supply chain including to customers, suppliers, and logistics partners opens up the silo.

—Chris Jones
EVP, Industry and Services

By far, with the impact on shipping from COVID issues, transportation is the biggest silo to overcome. With the 3G networks that so many electronic logs are configured for being decommissioned, until carriers are able to upgrade we could suffer a micro-shortage of capacity. It all depends on how agile the carriers are at upgrading to 4G. This is a silo that can only be toppled by proactive carrier engagement.

—Brian C. Gaffney
Supply Chain Specialist
Natural Fiber Welding

Mature supply chains have developed sales and operations planning departments, but transportation isn’t typically involved. Given variables like capacity volatility, unpredictable lead times, and product shortages, breaking down that silo could help shippers conserve resources and strategically plan for capacity needs.

—Aaron Galer
SVP, Strategic Partners
Arrive Logistics

Typically, each supplier tier is siloed from the next, and most companies have low, if any, visibility beyond their first-tier suppliers.

—Jeff White
Founder and CEO
Gravy Analytics

One of the biggest silos is visibility to supplier value chains. Transparency through the second and third tier of the supply chain provides valuable insights for serving customers.

—Hemant Porwal
EVP—Supply Chain & Operations
Wesco International

Supplier information lives in multiple locations across an organization, many of which are poorly connected, creating data silos. The resulting challenges in visibility, risk, and spend put supply chain resilience at jeopardy. To move forward, an organization-wide commitment to supplier-centricity and master data management, built upon active supplier experience management, is crucial.

—Anthony Payne

Have a great answer to a good question?

Be sure to participate next month. We want to know:

What pandemic-era innovation will have the greatest long-term impact on supply chains?

We’ll publish some answers. Tell us at [email protected] or tweet us @ILMagazine #ILgoodquestion.

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