October 29, 2013

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The Glass Enterprise: Visibility through Transparency

The Transportation & Logistics industry is constantly trying to balance demands for greater customer satisfaction against the need to keep costs down. With global supply chains becoming more complex and opaque, there is a need to maintain visibility and transparency across the supply chain, including multi-layered partner networks, complicated regulatory environments and increasing customer demands.

Transparency is the key to granular visibility across the enterprise ….and beyond.

Today’s complex business environment is characterized by volatile demand and rising customer expectations. Companies are compelled to constantly try and identify new ways to remain competitive. The need to deal with internal and external pressures demands a greater degree of transparency and real-time operational visibility.

The definition of visibility has undergone a tremendous change from the purely operational to the truly transformational. The ability to make a critical decision on time with complete availability of information is crucial in order to minimize the risk of escalating inventory and shipping costs. Managers need to be able to make decisions confidently and quickly. The elements of visibility that require informed decisions from practitioners swirl around on a daily basis, ranging from the fairly simple to the most complex.

  • What proactive steps can I take to keep my customers informed of their service status at all times?
  • What is the impact of a shipment delay in meeting my customer SLA‘s?
  • How can I effectively manage service disruptions beyond my control?
  • How can I minimize and cope with the effect of demand fluctuations?
  • Where are the bottlenecks in terms of billing and tracking?
  • How can I get real-time visibility into customer escalations and respond to them instantly?

In the above scenario, cross-network visibility is one of the most important factors for profitable demand fulfillment and ultimate customer satisfaction. Let’s take a look at some of the key challenges that industry practitioners typically face in addressing issues around cross network visibility:

  • How can I build trust and transparency across the trading partner network?
  • How can I address the need for transparency within my existing budget constraints?
  • How can I base a business decision from a holistic view of structured as well as unstructured or digital data?
  • What kind of infrastructure do I need to adopt in order to leverage a network of transparent information across the value chain?
  • What kind of analytics can help define and monitor collaborative KPI’s for cost and service?

A transparent enterprise is one that has achieved true “Glass” status: one that provides a platform for complete collaboration across customers, partners, suppliers, manufacturers and service providers. The ability of the glass enterprise to reflect, absorb, disseminate and distribute real-time information at the right time to the collaborative network is the true indicator of maturity. Solutions that can bring about this transformation include:

  • Deployment of an agile business operating platform and leveraging the power of convergence of multiple technology suites: SOA, BPM, CEP, BI, MDM and Big Data, among others
  • Implementing a Global Visibility Platform that can provide end- to end visibility across the shipment lifecycle
  • Defining and monitoring Pre-built Visibility KPI’s that can provide answers to those elusive elements of visibility
  • Strengthen enhanced communication across the network through next-gen mobility solutions
  • Implementing an Advanced Control Tower to proactively monitor and respond to business events and their impact on upstream and downstream processes
  • Re-define business process models, making multi-network flows of information more cost effective and sustainable
  • Adopting a business-aligned IT approach that can bring about complete transparency across your infrastructure, applications and business processes.  

Write in and let me know your views on visibility and transparency. In the upcoming blogs, I’ll talk more on how each of the above solution ideas can create a true transparent enterprise. Stay tuned!