Jessica Twentyman wrote for the Financial Times that when it comes to ordering materials and components, managing inventory levels, or organizing the delivery of finished goods to customers, companies are forced continually to chase business partners – mostly suppliers, logistics companies and retailers – via a messy stream of emails, phone calls and even faxes.
Ultriva by Upland provides data that gives manufacturers a complete, end-to-end view of supply chains which already resides on the back-end IT systems…as much as 80 per cent of it, according to some industry estimates. When a manufacturer receives an order, it often has little idea if its partners can provide the materials needed to produce and ship on schedule
With its cloud-based supply chain collaboration platform, Ultriva by Upland has transformed supply chain collaboration. According to Nandu Gopalun, “Our aim is to bring supply chain collaboration into the 21st century and make it simpler. To a large extent, that’s about eliminating the many blind spots in the process. The cloud, he argues, is the perfect place for supply-chain partners to collaborate for better visibility. Globalization has meant that supply chains today are longer, more dynamic, and riskier than ever before – but the cloud provides a common venue, easily accessible from any internet browser, where partners can get together to exchange information in real time. That makes it easier to detect potential sources of disruption and formulate better contingency plans in response. We provide a common language in which to describe bills of materials, replenishment orders, planned lead times and the status of orders.”
Christian Titze, an analyst at Gartner, the IT market research firm, said, “We’re seeing a very definite move to the cloud and a widespread recognition that old ways of working are no longer good enough in today’s world. Supply chain traceability is a huge issue for many manufacturers, but it is no longer enough for them simply to be able to answer basic questions, such as “Where are my materials?” and “Where is my order?” Now, what they’re looking for is a broader view. They want to know if their supply chain is following the plan they’ve set out for fulfilling customer needs. And they want to operate their supply chain networks as profitably as possible, to lower costs and to respond faster to new opportunities, as they emerge.”
This is prompting great interest in cloud-based supply chain collaboration platforms like Ultriva by Upland. One Ultriva customer that has already made the move to the cloud for its supply chain collaboration processes is CareFusion, a San-Diego based medical technologies specialist. It is using a SaaS platform from Ultriva to do business with its partners via a supply chain portal, according to Scott Harvey, vice-president of operations in the respiratory technologies division. “One of the main things for us was the low cost barrier for bringing partners on board. When you start talking to suppliers about establishing a supply chain portal, you can see the question on their faces: ‘What’s this going to cost me?’ But all they need is a computer with internet access. It immediately gets rid of a significant barrier to supply chain collaboration.”
Gopalun added that this technology has eliminated significant bottlenecks in CareFusion’s supply chain. Suppliers can print product labels directly from the system and, because it uses the same data, CareFusion can scan and log incoming deliveries of materials more quickly. This process used to take five or six hours a day…now it takes one hour. But more importantly, using the platform has transformed the dynamics of the relationships CareFusion has with its suppliers.
Gopalun insists that the real benefit is complete transparency. Suppliers have the same information and data and they can see inventory levels. They can see overstocks or about to run out. They can see their performance level against the delivery targets. Now they have all the information and data needed to be more accountable and more responsive.