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As the global marketplace continues to experience rapid growth, intelligent supply chain management is crucial to business success. Supply chains have become increasingly complex in order to keep pace with consumer demand. Historically, each step of the supply chain would operate individually on different systems from different vendors, resulting in a fragmented process with a significant margin for error. In today’s market, that practice is no longer a viable option.

According to Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, “The idea [that] I’m going to get multiple vendors to [compete] and mix and match them in a way that I create this procurement leverage — I’m telling you I think when you look at history, now over 25 years, it hasn’t worked.”

The innovations offered by cloud supply chain management platforms (SCM) are moving businesses away from an outdated way of operating and, instead, allowing each supply chain member to collaborate through one autonomous, unified platform, which is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. 

Integrated SCM applications make supply chains faster, smarter, and more agile.

Today’s supply chains need to be agile and digitally-connected from end to end to quickly and correctly complete tasks. By using an integrated application suite, such as Oracle SCM Cloud, businesses can fulfill orders efficiently and realize the following benefits: 

  • Visibility: Cloud SCM suites connect all stages of the supply chain, from procurement through logistics and order management, to provide complete visibility for every stakeholder.  
  • Flexibility: Each segment can be accessed from any geographic location, whether that’s a front office, a truck, or a warehouse. 
  • Autonomy: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities speed up previously manual transactions, reduce errors, and require minimal maintenance. Predictive analytics also provide actionable insights into allocation and inventory needs.
  • Profitability: Increased efficiency, predictive resource allocation, and error reduction all save organizations money and positively impact profit margins. 

Cloud SCM applications enable previously impossible integration.

Prior to integrated SCM applications, each member of the supply chain was solely concentrated on their own role in the movement of goods. This practice often resulted in siloed participation across multiple disconnected providers that could result in lost or late shipments, missed connections, and slower operations. Integrated supply chains offer a cooperative suite of applications built to work together and operate quickly and accurately under a single provider. 

Right out of the box, integrated apps include a far greater emphasis on application programming interfaces (APIs), allowing for seamless interoperability among connected apps. Hurd explains, “Our objective across Oracle and our entire application suite is to keep things simple, to keep things modular, to allow you to mix and match, but to do it in a way [that’s] as consistent an approach as possible.” 

With a cloud SCM suite, each member of the supply chain has end-to-end visibility, creating an uninterrupted communication channel across the entire supply chain. This increased communication extends through the company as well, integrating supply chain applications with other enterprise software suites. “It isn’t good enough to have a best-of-breed application,” Hurd says. “You have to have a suite. The front office, the e-commerce system, has to talk to the supply chain system.” 

Companies without an integrated SCM suite are losing out.

A study from Inspirage found that “integrated tools and systems” are the top obstacle facing supply chain managers without a connected SCM suite, with “information visibility and communication” coming in a close second. Organizations that employ integrated SCM systems solve both of these problems simultaneously. 

Although 94 percent of supply chain leaders believe digital transformation will be a game changer and solve these common issues, only 44 percent have a strategy for adoption and implementation. Organizations without a plan for integrated innovation are missing out on significant opportunity to achieve the same level of growth as those using autonomous SCM technology. In fact, companies that use Integrated supply chains grow revenue 20 percent faster than their competitors that don’t. 

Integrated supply chains are simply more effective than “mix-and-match” methods. Non-integrated SCMs lack accessibility between sectors, resulting in missed opportunities, insights, and potential to drive revenue. 

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