Today’s supply chains are a complex, global network of networks. Thanks to the increasing sophistication of everyday products and services – from cell phones to automobiles – supply chains often rely on four tiers of suppliers or more to deliver finished goods.
That volume of suppliers, the global spread of supply chains, and a lingering dependence on manual processes, make answering simple questions hard. “What’s the status of my order, shipment or invoice?” becomes an hours-long endeavor involving emails, Excel spreadsheets and piecing together a trail of individual business documents, often in the form of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Identifying and effectively managing disruption is also harder, especially when you consider that while most supply chain professionals collaborate primarily with tier 1 suppliers – a whopping 40 percent of supply chain disruptions occur among tier 2 to tier 10 suppliers.