Sporting Competitions and the Competitive Edge of the Supply Chain

July has been a busy month of competition with many of us watching (or attending…those lucky few!) the World Cup, Tour de France and Wimbledon. These major sporting events determine the world leader in their respective sports. These athletes gain certain advantages like the financial rewards of prize monies, big brand endorsements, fame, and adoring fans from all around the globe who now view them as “super hero” athletes, capable of “leaping tall buildings in a single bound.”

What do these competitions and their winners have to do with the supply chain? In today’s complex connected world, the supply chain is more and more recognized as a key source of competitive advantage and differentiation. No, these companies aren’t gaining fame, prize monies or big-brand endorsements like the athletes; but they are gaining a more powerful supply chain that will enable them to get their products to market faster, more efficiently and more economically than their competition. Greater customer satisfaction, lower inventory levels and bigger profits becomes their competitive advantage.

So what is the secret to supply chain success? Twenty-first-century supply chains can give your business a competitive advantage if they create a digital transformation of the business based on a network of collaborative relationships and automated processes. The advantaged supply chain is built on an ecosystem of networked companies who interact with each other to supply key components or services that drive value through the network. The combination of supply chain visibility solutions, big data analytics, a collaborative network and cloud-based technologies are the main tools that make up the foundation for a digital supply chain. Because it is important to collaborate with suppliers and customers, these same systems need to extend to every partner in the ecosystem. When trading partners transform and conduct business with each other, the end-to-end supply chain dramatically gains value.

For process manufacturers, the ability to automate critical business processes and connect to a collaborative network of suppliers and customers can lead to competitive advantage. Elemica’s QuickLink Email solution allows manufacturers to send orders to suppliers through an automated email process, which can transmit invoices and orders directly into an existing ERP system. The automated email process improves communication, increases visibility and speeds payment processing.

Using Elemica QuickLink Email, electronic purchase orders can be automatically converted to email and routed to suppliers, who view orders and confirm them directly through email. You can review these confirmations to ensure validation of the proper quantity and requested delivery date. Gone are the days of expedited freight to meet delivery requirements. Your competitive advantage comes in the form of lowered costs, happier customers and greater efficiencies.

We may not all be “super hero” athletes who compete on a world stage, but we do have the ability to become “super hero” companies that transform their business to be faster, more efficient and economically superior to their competitors.