Today’s modern supply chains are multi-enterprise, starting with consumers, retailers, distributors; and flowing through an extended network of suppliers, contract manufacturers, and other third parties.

Successfully managing such supply chains requires visibility, planning, and execution across all trading partners.

Here are 5 steps to transform your extended supply chain into a competitive advantage:

1. Look beyond the enterprise and adopt analytics that uses real-time data

While traditional planning applications are restricted to mostly historical data from within the enterprise, current data from the extended supply chain – from retailers or distributors – contains critical information. Use it.

2. Automated algorithms are here to help

Automated algorithms enable the next step in supply chain performance through the systematic analysis of large amounts of data. It, therefore, frees professionals from mundane, low-value activities to focus on more strategic areas such as planning promotions or inventory policy decisions. Leverage technology to do more.

3. Connect logistics to S&OP

Finished goods are planned weeks or even months in advance yet shippers are the last to know, often finding out as orders cross their desks.

As a result, logistics is stuck in reactive mode, scrambling to secure capacity each day. New transportation forecasting algorithms can now predict logistics requirements that are synchronized with S&OP to ensure that everyone executes against the same plan.

4. Create healthy inventory across the entire supply chain

Managing inventory to support the business’ growth requires the simultaneous optimization of all echelons of the extended supply chain.

Removing unproductive inventory across the value chain frees millions in cash to invest in other parts of the business and lowers operating expenses by having the right product in the right place the first time.

5. Better serve customers by accurately sensing demand and connecting it to a timely supply response

Linking real-time demand with a timely supply response allows companies to commit with confidence and profitably capture growth opportunities in today’s volatile markets.

If your company is not already working on leveraging its extended supply chain, the time is now.

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