Achieving Supply Chain Collaboration

To reap the benefits of true supply-chain collaboration, the involvement of software suppliers, product owners, the logistics companies and end customers are needed, states Dovetail Technical Director Reggie Pillay.

Technology platforms that enable the sharing of information over a single source must also ensure seamless communication and reduced data capture, he adds. The right technology set will deliver the benefits of a collaborated supply chain, single point visibility, reduced logistics costs, and faster time to execute and deliver.

“Logistics companies that want to remain relevant need to ensure that their software vendors have the capabilities to quickly and cost effectively adapt their software to meet globalisation demands and standards,” Pillay points out.

He highlights that the ever-changing ‘globalisation’ factor provides for technology to bring people, products and services closer together. “The ‘I must have it now’ need places the responsibility on logistics companies to be able to deliver faster in order to stay ahead of the competition, and also to provide new revenue streams.”

With an ever increasing market for online services, the result is a global economy that is finally connected. You order a product on Amazon in the USA, and within 2 to 3 days it is delivered to your home in South Africa, notes Dovetail Business Development Director Shermandra Singh.

“These efficiencies can only be delivered by ensuring that global supply-chain systems are seamlessly integrated. As a consumer, you have a single point of visibility to track your order from the moment you’ve placed it – until it is in your hands. The reality is it may have passed through various international couriers, freight forwarders, airlines and local courier companies, before it reaches you.”

Singh states that technology has enabled the supply-chain industry to become more efficient and to reduce costs. The benefits have continued to grow – from the implementation of the humble phone, telefax, fax, email and the internet.

“In the past, most companies specialised in one service, for example courier, 3PL warehousing and freight forwarding. However, with increased competition and the change in clients requirements – now preferring to deal with a single vendor – many companies find themselves changing their business model to support multiple service offerings, which causes more complexity and disruption to IT systems.”

Singh explains that companies now face the choice of having to enhance legacy applications or change to new software solutions.

He points out that, unlike other industries, software for the logistics industry is not autonomous, and must be utilised with human interaction. Hence, the logistics software nowadays should have the capability to provide both automated decision making, as well as support the ability to calculate recommendations that leave the final decision to be made by the user.

“Clients demand and expect logistics service providers to have, within their organisation, systems that provide end-to-end product and inventory visibility, logistics network optimisation software, real time shipment, and track and trace at a global level. When changing or enhancing logistics, companies need to ensure the selected software can meet this business critical need,” Singh concludes.