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.