Supply Chain Operating Networks: Addressing the Long Tail of Supply Chains

All industries (and the companies within them) have their own unique business processes and requirements. The introduction of new regulations and different operating realities by country add even more layers of complexity. How can a Supply Chain Operating Network, which connects many companies and their trading partners together to plan and execute supply chain processes, enable this diversity in business requirements?

“You need a network platform that enables process configuration instead of customization,” said Sergio Juarez, Chief Commercial Officer at Elemica in a recent episode of Talking Logistics. “Customization creates complexity, it creates costs, it is not scalable…the better approach is configuration, which gives companies the opportunity to set up the platform they way they want to use it and then they can continue to configure it as they improve or change their business processes with their trading partners. Configuration is cheaper, faster, and more scalable, and it can be self-service.”

Why is this important? As Juarez describes in the clip below, it’s no longer enough for companies to follow the 80/20 rule — that is, connect only with the 20 percent of trading partners that account for 80 percent of transactions. “Companies now need to address the long tail because if you automate your processes, you have to do it with all of your trading partners, otherwise you won’t get the full benefits.”

The long tail also comes into play from a business intelligence and analytics perspective, especially as it relates to supply chain risk management, as Suarez discusses in this short clip:

Simply put, process configurability coupled with quick and easy onboarding of trading partners are two of the most critical attributes companies should look for in a Supply Chain Operating Network.

I encourage you to watch the rest of my conversation with Sergio for more insights and advice on this topic. Then post a question or comment and keep the conversation going!

The full episode: