Growing market volatility and increasing supply chain complexities from highly distributed operations hinder visibility into supply chain processes. Enterprises alleviate this issue by electronically connecting to suppliers, enabling them to collaborate on forecasts and demand, as well as increase visibility into orders, inventory and shipments. As hundreds to thousands of companies are involved in bringing a product to market, their activities need to be closely synchronized in order to deliver products to customers on time and within budget.
Additionally, rapid responses and clear visibility into the supply chain are required to avoid costly mistakes. For example, excess raw material stocks held at a time of falling raw material prices incur huge losses, putting a manufacturer at a disadvantage relative to better prepared competitors. Alternatively, too low a raw material stock at a time of increasing demand can leave supply shortages, causing an inability to manufacture suf cient product, and losing customer demand to competitors who had better insight into changes in the supply and demand balance.
Consequently, companies have extensive technical requirements, and need a combination of business process, trading partner integration and supply chain visibility solutions to help optimize their supply chains. These businesses need to extend their supply chain activities outside of their four walls into a multi-enterprise network.