The Straight Skinny: Business Networks For Supply Chain Are Happening.

We read lots of material on supply chains; without a doubt the best is “Supply Chain Shaman” written by Laura Cecere. She is hard to disagree with yet easy to understand. She does not have any cartoons and no pictures I can use; so I will just continue to fool all of you that the airport control tower at Mirable International Airport is really a Supply Chain Control Tower.

Recently, she was involved in a research process where she can see fast and demonstrable results. It is the adoption of new forms of B2B networks for supply chains.

I just love her appraisal of research projects: “My research projects have been many, and I love new technologies. I often find that new technologies are overhyped and underdeliver on promises. I pride myself on cutting through the hype and getting to the facts. No fluff from me… I am known for telling it straight.”

Laura figured out way back when “experts” were talking about ERPII (ERP2?) that you can’t do it all from inside and that you really need a network.

Her initial take is right to the point: “While many companies wax eloquently on the concept of building the end-to-end value chain, I find that they are not clear on the meaning. It is often stated as a goal in meetings, and I see it used in many strategic plans. However, what I observe is continued investment in the automation of enterprise practices. We are busy working on process iterations and continuous improvement programs that I think only inch us towards business transformation. I am excited to state that today, I think that we finally have B2B Network alternatives that work. I am also excited to state that I think that they are one of the disruptive technologies that can help us get unstuck in delivering on corporate performance. It is important. As we have outsourced logistics and manufacturing, I firmly believe that we need to get more serious about the building of Business-to-Business (B2B) networks. These are one-to-many and many-to-many architectures that connect logistics providers, contract manufacturers and suppliers into true supply networks. There is a community layer, an application layer, and a connectivity layer. In our recent research reports, line-of-business users are using these networks for 7% of their flows. The primary methods of connecting with trading partners are spreadsheets and EDI.”

So what do we have?. CONFUSION:

Nobody in the vendor community agrees on what a control tower is which means they disagree on what visibility is.

Why Business Networks over EDI VANS??????

Don’t look to ERP vendors for answers in the short-term

“the next time that you see an analyst compare an EDI VAN and a B2B Business Network on the same model, throw up a red flag. It is obvious that they just do not know what they are talking about. They are very different solutions with far-reaching implications.”

Let’s Connect the VALUE CHAIN. Simple to say, Why does everybody stumble over this.

OK Laura, enough of praising your ideas (ALL OF WHICH I AGREE ON). Everybody else: Read  Laura’s blog

At least, we seem to be over the days when a “business network” was simply a “link farm” of all the supply chain members.

Laura: I may be “World’s Greatest Blogger”, but you are the “Supply Chain Shaman”      …..Penney