Monday, May 5, 2008

E-business and supply chain management

E-Business and Supply Chain Management (SCM)

SCM without the E-business platform may not be effective in synchronizing, integrating or collaborating with the internal and external customers and suppliers.

The traditional ERP approach may entail the need for Enterprise Adaptor Integration, Middleware, datamart, data warehouse, groupware, business process management, and what have you. This approach is probably suitable for the large enterprises with big enough financial budgets to the IT CAPEX. The issues and challenges are as follows:
a) Top management support for a synchronized or integrated SCM
b) Obtain source data with high integrity in a timely manner
c) Willingness of the customers and suppliers in sharing the appropriate data
d) Willingness of the key users to support the openness and transparency of data and information
e) The availability or uptime of the SCM systems with many layers of IT interfaces working together
f) The ability to ensure effectively of the SCM systems
g) The ability to continuously improve the SCM processes to achieve the KPI goals
h) The IT-enabled capability of moving data, documents and information securely and smoothly across different ERP systems and databases

The various initiatives like EDI, RosettaNet, Coviscint, and others are important milestones in moving documents and orders from one party to another. More developments are needed to make sure the various document formats can be converted without user intervention.

As Internet, Intranet and Extranet become readily available, and multiple document and data formats can be inter-operable, e-business to support SCM.

To begin with the e-business approach to extended enterprise SCM, the SCM Network Conceptual Model must be developed first and foremost. With that reference conceptual framework and model, management can then work with the project team and key users to map the appropriate processes to support the business requirements.

The front-end business to business communication and interface will become a critical part of SCM. It does not really matter if customers and suppliers are using different ERP systems, as long as documents and data can be automatically converted from one format to another. This may involved some form of intermediate processing and the choice of solution may very much depend on the budget.

Maybe at the time of writing, there is no one systems solution provide that can be one-stop single source. The systems integration or synchronization must be able to inter-linked the various components of the SCM of the customers and suppliers.

Sometimes, a better approach is to do prototyping with one of those Rapid Application Development tools that have a library of business objects available for mix and match couple with some additional development.

The key to effectiveness may be to create the necessary paradigm shift in the business transformation to move towards simplification and standardization.

No comments: