Oh my goodness! I’m faced with choosing an EDI solution! Where do I turn? I just don’t know any of these companies. It is often a daunting task for many businesses, especially those who have little or no experience with EDI. Many companies become familiar with the technology only after being informed by a major trading partner of the need to be EDI compliant. Here are a few key points to consider when choosing an EDI solution:
Brussels Airport (after new terminal connector)
It is a given that to manage our supply chain, we have to have as much visibility as possible. Our SCM Control Tower is hooked up with logistics providers, parts suppliers, customers, manufacturing, procurement…did I forget anybody? Yup. The electronic commerce people who move this data all around for us: the Services Hub.
Yes, we are getting good info from these other sources, but our Services Hub could add value too.
Leveraging the Services Hub for Supply Chain Visibility is just one example of what services vendors are capable of. The approach to better visibility is combining existing IT technology with some more unique tools.They have explained the language of supply chain visibility, measuring the value of visibility, and building a solution with a step-by-step strategy.
Now we could look at all the current definitions of “Supply Chain Visibility” and write a book (gee, what a great idea for my spare time)! Let’s use the following definition for now: Visibility gives you the information you need, when you need it and in the right context to make business decisions. It finds root causes, which now makes it “actionable intelligence”.
When we got into SCM Control Towers, there were not too many others (you know, the “experts” who appear in your mailbox every day and draw crowds at those big conferences) who were writing about them or building them.
BUT WE TALKED A LOT ABOUT THEM AHEAD OF EVERYBODY ELSE
So let’s recreate what we have published and give you some great material.
12 February, 2013
A new term is appearing in the supply chain arena: “Supply Chain Control Tower”. Just as an airport control tower coordinates airplanes landing and taking off, a Supply Chain Control Tower coordinates inbound and outbound distribution flows. Sure sounds more professional than a “dashboard”.
It is all about “knowledge”. Air controllers get information on weather, speed, direction, and altitude of aircraft and use that knowledge to keep their air space safe. Companies must know what is happening with their supply chains so they can prevent disasters too. They need to be able to do “what-if” analysis and work their way around events that will cause disruption and risks to the supply chain
In my first take at staffing the SCM Control Tower, I have Logistics, CRM, Demand Planning, Procurement and EDI/Electronic Commerce. I’m not far off the mark. I am covering all the “processes” that the Forum covers. In the Forum’s approach, everybody still reports organizationally in their own “silo” and proper operation of the SCM Control Tower depends on collaboration among the silos
If you take a look at an airport control tower, it usually is a boring place. Yes, they work around the clock but all you see is a super smooth operation. Operators viewing screens and talking calmly into headsets. When it is not “boring”, they usually throw visitors out. Our goal with our SCM Control Tower is to make it a “boring” place.
Airport towers handle incidents on the ground like failed landing gear. They handle incidents in the air like a “near miss”. They even reach out to other airports: anybody ever sat in an airport waiting for your destination airport to plow its snow, or whatever?
So all the time our SCM “tower operators” are monitoring for aberrations: in-house; with the suppliers and service providers; and the external World. They are looking for anything that has, will or might interrupt the supply chain. When ever, let’s call it an “incident”, is detected, the tower operator first determines if it has already occurred.
05 September 2013
We have been talking a lot about Supply Chain Management Control Towers. Yes, transportation (usually under logistics) is included in the control tower. In many companies, transportation is outsourced to a 3PL, 4PL or 5PL provider. This provider is an expert at hooking your company up to any required transportation resources. Your provider already has some excellent tools available. A popular concept since the 1990’s has been the “Load Control Center” (LCC). We are looking at outsourcing, but yes, excellent software is available if you do it yourself.
Transportation has always been an opportunity to centralize and get some benefits. 3M started the concept of Load Control Centers(LCC) and lots of others followed suit. The LCC is simply centralization of transportation planning and execution. Benefits include:
better pricing from centralized transportation sourcing
development of standardized operating procedures
fewer planners than in several separate operations
ability to combine more shipments and loads because of greater visibility
- electronic integration with carriers
4 November 2013
Control towers are used in many industries for different purposes: airports and railroads use them for traffic control; power plants have control rooms to monitor operations and third party logistics providers use them to track transportation activities. These are places where operations run well. Why not a “SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT CONTROL TOWER” to monitor and assure supply?
The SCM Control Tower is all about having visibility throughout the supply chain. But if there is total visibility and no ability to make decisions, then it is not a control tower. To be a decision maker, you will need to run “what if” scenarios: forecast and recalculate the entire inventory if “your ship doesn’t come in” (something that literally could happen). To be able to calculate effects of events, it will require a LOT of data. Hence, we need to introduce BIG DATA to our Control Tower.
In our article on “EDI Goes Deep”, we first encounter the concept of “regional” networks. These developed over the years, but now that everybody is going global, how has the auto industry adapted? Like instead of everybody having to join all these regional groups, how have they “gone global” How do we bring these regional centers together?
Everything starts with Industry Associations. The automotive industry has developed a number of industry associations. These associations provide standards for how automotive companies exchange information electronically with each other. With global expansion in recent years, the industry associations around the World now work closely with each other so that automotive companies can set up new plants and onboard new business partners as quickly as possible.
Ever get billed by your bank for car insurance when you don’t own a car? Does your cell phone provider fail to send you a bill, yet keeps asking you for your address? Sounds like they both have a Master Data Management problem. The recent emphasis on regulatory compliance, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and mergers/acquisitions has made the creating and maintaining of accurate and complete master data a business must-do.
Most software systems have lists of data that are shared and used by several of the applications that make up the system. For example, a typical ERP system as a minimum will have a Customer Master, an Item Master, and an Account Master. This master data is often one of the key assets of a company. It’s not unusual for a company to be acquired primarily for access to its Customer Master data.
Ecommerce Service Providers (ECSP) are a “hybrid” with high turnover rate, deal with all implementation guides, and amount to a “Hub of Spokes”). An ECSP is what we previously called VAS (value added services) such as SPS Commerce. Can be referred to as a “VAN2” if it moves EDI messages over the Internet.
Let’s characterize the three types of EDI customers: Hubs; Spokes; Ecommerce Service Providers (ECSP). A “Super Hub” accommodates all three types of customers.
Let’s take a typical ECSP and describe their service offerings by reviewing their respective WebPages:
What is wrong with the current approach to EDI implementation? We need a new concept. Everybody wants to be a “Hub” not a “Spoke”, because that is where the money is made. That is also why new EDI implementations have stagnated. Our answer is to turn “Spokes” into “Hubs”. Currently, the “Hub” realizes benefits; the “Spoke” does not. Why can’t a Spoke become a Hub and trade electronically with lower-tier suppliers and with their own customers? Only because traditionally they have thought it was too complicated.
We have been discussing the three types of EDI customers: Hubs; Spokes (low turnover of trading partners but higher technical requirements); Ecommerce Service Providers (ECSP); A “Super Hub” accommodates all three types of customers.
Lets dig a little deeper into how things have changed and what would it take to do:
There are many new languages that support REST (POST / GET) and ECGridOS allows this, albeit without the rich error handlers of SOAP – but there are many instances where new language enthusiasts will find themselves in a position to use ECGridOS, and the collective knowledge amassed in our developer community is invaluable.
An increasing number of web developers that use text editors and non-IDE non Visual Studio coding environments are looking for advice on the best way to make Web Services function calls from popular web languages, such as Ruby, Python, PHP, Scala, Hasklell, I think you get the idea.
If you can contribute your favorite non Visual Studio method for importing and unwrapping the ECGridOS WSDL (.ASMX), could you please help a brother out and post your ideas on the ECGrid Developers Forum – Users of Eclipse, you could weigh in, too. There are many new languages that support REST (POST / GET) and ECGridOS for the moment allows this, albeit without the rich error handlers of SOAP – but there are many instances that a new language enthusiast will find themselves in a position to use E
For those that have not joined, the geniuses that never needed nor asked for help, Jim….I am asking you and folks like yourself, to please go to http://forums.ecgrid.com/index.php and let us know the inner working of PHP web clients and stuff. Note: The forum is much faster now, thanks to Todd.
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Ever see these funny square things that work like a barcode? QR Code (abbreviated from “Quick Response” Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside that industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. The code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a white background.