Introducing the Social Supply Chain

By Bill Harrison, President, Demand Solutions.

There are now more things connected to the internet than people connected to the internet. In fact, according to a very engaging infographic provided by Cisco, there are more things connected to the internet than there are people on the earth. It has been this way since 2008. The infographic goes on to tell us that "These things are starting to talk to each other and develop their own intelligence."

Supply Chain Evolution. This is true, of course – but the operative word here is "starting." By and large, the things we connect to the internet aren't connected to each other. This goes not only for devices, but also for software. Especially supply chain planning software. Demand Management is aware of this gigantic connection gap – which is why we've focused on providing native social connectivity in our applications. Think of this as the advent of the social supply chain.

A Closer Look at the Social Supply Chain

Now, what exactly is the social supply chain, and why is there a need for it? Let's look first at the need. Think about how your own supply chain has changed over the past few years. Chances are, you're continuing to transition from a local to a global supply chain. It's highly likely that you've found you can get much better prices – and a wider selection – on many components by looking beyond your own borders. Of course, the global supply chain comes with drawbacks. Ever tried communicating by email with a supplier in China? You send them a message while they're asleep. They reply while you're asleep. Add in potential language and cultural differences, and it can take days to get a straight answer to a simple question, even as your deadlines are fast approaching.

Social collaboration tools can change that. The next-generation workforce is online all the time, using social platforms on their smartphones to communicate during nearly every waking hour. Although this trend is being led by younger workers, it certainly encompasses many middle-aged and senior folks too – especially the ones who want to retain their competitive edge. By using social platforms to share supply chain information, we can all stay in much closer communication and eliminate many of the barriers caused by working in vastly different time zones. In fact, if I were a more touchy-feely person, I might say, "Social makes our world smaller." And so, the social supply chain is simply a supply chain in which participants use today's social platforms, rather than email, to collaborate.

Making the Idea a Reality

The concept of a social supply chain will remain nothing more than a concept unless stakeholders can find a seamless way of integrating social tools into the supply chain planning software they already use. That's why Demand Management has integrated the Yammer social platform into our Demand Solutions suite. Yammer is a leading enterprise social network used by 85% of the Fortune 500, so we figured there was no better tool to incorporate into our supply chain planning platform. With the integration of Yammer, Demand Solutions is now a pervasively intelligent sales and operations planning solution that lets you use the information you already have available to run your business more effectively.

When you're experiencing a blockage in your supply chain and want to know what's going on, Demand Solutions lets you see who's online, click on their name, and send them a message for a speedy response. It's hard to imagine more efficient communication than that. This is just the beginning of how the social supply chain can impact your business. Get the whole story today about what Demand Solutions can offer


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