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By Jim D’Addario, Director of SCM Product Marketing

High-functioning organizations recognize that to operate efficiently, they need to break down the informational and organizational silos that hinder communications and transparency. In his 2004 book The Value FactorOracle CEO Mark Hurd recognized how avoiding compartmentalization of information can positively impact businesses, saying, “Every company in every industry can benefit from eliminating fragmentation.” Fragmentation decreases knowledge sharing, which can be detrimental to an organization’s supply chain operations. Communication breakdowns can lead to frustrated employees, delayed order fulfillment, and, ultimately, dissatisfied customers. 

For companies that deliver products to an end consumer, transparency in their supply chain processes is critical to efficiency. Efficiency is more important than ever, as consumers now apply similar weight to product quality and order-fulfillment speed. In fact, a recent study by Voxware, a company that delivers analytic solutions for distribution operations, found 69% of survey respondents are much less or less likely to shop with a retailer in the future if an item they purchased is not delivered within two days of the date promised.

Perceptive organizations recognize this shift in consumer expectations as an opportunity to update their supply chain processes. Companies that increase inner-organizational transparency in their supply chains can realize operational efficiencies, decentralize decision-making, and positively impact their bottom line.

In order for companies to make good on their obligations to consumers, it’s critical they present their employees with a single repository for information. Storing information in a universally accessible system allows stakeholders throughout the supply chain to share and receive information. Hurd recognized the importance of disseminating consistent and accurate information in The Value Factor, saying companies require, “a unified understanding of the business, a single version of the truth.” 

Organizations can present a single version of the truth to their employees by using technologies that break down the barriers between departments. Oracle recently updated Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud to facilitate communications between customer service and field technicians, align orders and invoicing with their proper projects and organizations, and improve orchestration of vendor-managed inventory, all while reducing operational costs. 

By increasing information sharing across departments, companies can maintain efficiency in their supply chains. When customer service representatives, logistics personnel, field personnel, and financial personnel are using the same system to access information, they are working from a single version of the truth, which they can then share with customers.

To accompany the launch of the Oracle SCM updates, Jon Chorley, chief sustainability officer and group vice president, supply chain management product strategy, reflected on the importance of inter-departmental transparency in supply chains, saying, “Organizations need an efficient and responsive supply chain to stay ahead of constantly changing expectations and that requires trust, transparency, and open lines of communication across the entire value chain.” 

Advancements in technology aren’t just bolstering efficiency in internal supply chain operations, they are also augmenting the customer experience. Oracle recently introduced the Oracle Service Logistics Cloud, an end-to-end solution that connects customer experience, field service, and supply chain operations through an integrated cloud solution. This first-of-its-kind solution will help service-based organizations seamlessly manage operations and provide a unified experience for the customer by joining Oracle Customer Experience Cloud and Oracle SCM Cloud. Different service departments can now work together in real time to provide the customer with a single point of contact and universal buying experience.

Emerging technologies will increasingly support other aspects of the supply chain as well. Companies can use solutions such as Oracle Service Logistics Cloud to optimize parts logistics by ordering and shipping parts directly to the customers and technicians who need them. The solution can also help companies manage a technician’s stock, thus increasing the accuracy of service and billing. Companies can use this cloud solution to better manage their field service departments by matching a technician’s skills and inventory with customer requests. 

Customer-centric companies will continue to use emerging technologies to gain efficiencies in their supply chain operations. Companies who have transparent end-to-end supply chain operations increase employee and customer satisfaction. When employees can use enterprise-wide, cloud-based systems to inform logistics, remove information silos, and drive decision-making, they increase efficiency and their bottom lines. 


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