complexityMany supply chain participants feel their operations are too complex for them to manage. EDI service providers offer “managed services” to address complexity.

So why are Supply Chains so complex to manage? First of all, the terminology tends to overwhelm the average Supply Chain: end-to-end planning, control tower, integrated supply chain. Staff sometimes does not know if they are firefighters or air traffic controllers. The number of connections around the world keeps getting bigger and more complex. Supply chains link the world’s population tightly together; all our lives depend increasingly on timely and smooth operations and careful SCM. Countering complexity with complexity is not the answer they are looking for.

What are managed services and what do they offer to Supply Chains?

Yes, it does sound confusing. But we recently took a look at both managed EDI and at supply chain complexity, so we are part of the way there.

The best way to combat complexity is with simplicity:

Source data – a single version of the truth shared between retailers and their suppliers on a common, managed services platform – eliminates the need for many point solutions.

Then Managed File Transfers (MFT) between the many data sources and data users (suppliers, customers, warehouses, transportation, planners, inventory controllers). There are many ways a managed services vendor can help. The list includes: EDI, B2B integration, omni-channel commerce support, rollout of new applications, onboarding business partners and monitoring system effectiveness. Their expertise can be invaluable in risk management, automating current business processes and to simplify the operation of the data center and cloud. They can deliver visibility of the whole supply chain.

So the aim of managed services is to make it easier for SCM organizations to excel at customer fulfillment and plan for the future without spending all their efforts just getting by each work day. The strong backbone of a managed services provider will be most tested in the international arena. Why? Because there are additional risk and so many ways things can go bad.

Global supply chains have many legal and technical differences. A good managed services provider will be able to handle these. Trading partner communication and vendor compliance can more easily be handled by a managed services provider  It is all about every member of the team working in their core competencies

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