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A New Way of Collaboration in Logistics

By Daniel Cavallin, CIO, CELISTICS

Daniel Cavallin, CIO, CELISTICS

In 1995, when Wal-Mart developed the CPFR initiative (Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment), they created a standard for the supply chain industry on which planning was based on a strictly collaborative process. In consensus, customers, vendors, manufacturers, and logistics operators share information, reaching agreements about the best forecast that should be followed and executed, all in a synchronized way.
Nowadays, when the collaboration involves too much data, discussing it in meetings becomes very inefficient. Currently, the real collaboration is based on systematic process and it is critical to establish business rules that support decisions, creating the systemic fundamentals for the information exchanged among all the business partners are the key for this type of collaboration.
It is, therefore, important that our customers, vendors, and business associates’ information systems are developed in a way that allows seamless information sharing. In order to reach this goal, it is crucial to usea Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), and build systems focused on APIs that standardize the connectivity with other applications. It is no less important, to use a common Data Dictionary where the terms used are understood and accepted by all the participants.
For the logistics industry, a real collaboration enables a unified platform, where all the information, regardless of the sources, constitutes the foundation for developing the business intelligence that enables predictions, and ultimately, an effective planning and intelligent logistics.
Another major challenge that companies face today when seeking systemic integration, is the diversity of master codes associated to items and clients, to name a few. Many times, the client, the vendor, and the logistics operator, each have a different code for the same product, making the integration very difficult. It is therefore important to standardize on this new collaboration common used codes, or develop MDM (Master Data Management) strategies with the objective to provide a common point of reference. MDM strategies are more common in large companies that have made acquisitions, and even internally manage multiple systems around the same products, thereby minimizing the effect of having the information disaggregated and facilitating the construction of a Data warehouse that habilitates the analysis layer.
In a collaborative business environment, the partner that manages to consolidate all the information efficiently, might be able to develop a new business unit based on the ability of presenting and analyzing this information creating predictive models, and in general, seeking the optimization of inventory levels, planning, and all the process of the supply chain.
At Celistics, the product suite that nowadays manages planning, international logistics, domestic logistics, and the channel and distribution processes, enable our clients to develop that intelligence based on accurate information, which is only made possible with Systemic Collaboration.

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