Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers were not engineered to handle the rapid shifts in the market dynamics and demands patterns we all see today. The disruption in the business world is resulting in urgent efforts to adapt supply chains, whether by reimagining the way partner or customer data is handled, updating purchase orders (PO) and changing merchandising plans or by reallocating inventory and working capital to point them where they are needed most.
Some of these efforts include:
Changing buy plans to suit high-demand categories,
Integrating and analyzing data in minutes instead of months,
Paying essential supplier invoices without causing delay,
Easing same-day and next-day delivery requirements, etc.
Many companies are grappling to respond to the rapid shift in the supply chain simply because they are not prepared to manage and unlock the data of their partners quickly enough. In the process, they lose the currency of data and so many opportunities.
In the supply chain, partners usually exchange information about orders. Now, when a company is ill-prepared to handle this data, its ability to respond to a sudden surge in demand, and ultimately deliver value to customers will take a toll. Probably, they will fail to respond to new requests that did not exist before.
For successful supply chain adoption, retailers, distributors, and manufacturers must send orders, invoices, and confirmations back and forth quickly, often with partners they have never done business with before. In doing so, they need to integrate and exchange data in a timely fashion. Often companies need to communicate through industry-standard protocols such as EDI, HTTPS, SFTP, or REST API because there isn’t time to develop custom solutions.
These hurdles can be even more during the current times when disruption is at its peak. Technical and IT teams that often were scarce before are now stretched to the limit. As an additional challenge, the technical teams may need to write a lot of code and execute complex EDI mapping routines. Not only can that be time-consuming but also costly. Subsequently, technical or IT teams fail to focus on more high-value tasks.
Handling data while reshaping the supply chain requires companies to bring their non-technical business users to the forefront and enable IT to take up the role of governance. When business users (with minimal technical expertise) feel comfortable in onboarding, ingesting, integrating, and analyzing complex, bi-directional customer data streams, technical or IT teams become free to govern these processes and focus on more important tasks instead. The role of self-service integration comes into play here.
Related White Paper: Self-Service Integration - Frees Up IT Resources and Increases Productivity
Self-service-powered data integration solutions enable businesses to maximize the performance of their supply chains without burdening their IT or technical teams. By empowering non-techies in the business to create connections and drive transactions across supply chains, these solutions become a guiding star for organizations.
Features like pre-built application connectors, shared templates, dashboards and intuitive screens, and more empower all business users to build integrations in minutes. Users can, therefore, gain better visibility into operations through supply chains. As a result, companies’ ability to communicate and transact witnesses an upward surge. Not only can that help manufacturers or retailers improve ease of doing business but also deliver experiences and generate faster revenue.