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Are we in a Supply Chain Renaissance?

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There’s  a great new report out from Chainlink Resarch called “Supply Chain Renaissance” Just what is the supply chain renaissance you ask?

The report explores how supply chain management is finally moving beyond modular applications and point-to-point communications to many-to-many networks that enable complex communication across multiple parties in a supply chain. In other words, leading technology solutions have finally reaching the point  where they can manage  what is actually happening within supply chains today (.e.g. outsourced manufacturing, logistics, and operations, thousands of trading partners, rapid changes in supply and demand variability, etc.).

Here’s an interesting quote from the report that charts the evolution of SCM technology:

The 1990s saw the emergence of a supply chain market. And at that point, we were still developing processes, code, algorithms and such, creating the many options we have today for forecasting, scheduling, optimizing, routing and so on. That work needed to be done. Though we knew that supply chain, de facto, was inter-enterprise, we only had EDI to help create the linkages. The internet represented that era of ‘the middle ages,’ when we could leverage this new medium, but solutions were still point-to-point. Portal and XML augmented EDI. It took a few years until the real age of freedom of ideas on the web and a more open approach to managing business led us to accept multi-party visibility and a real sharing of information. A Renaissance of the supply chain began. Applications we could not have envisioned (visibility and location intelligence); or some we could (end-to-end processing), but did not have the tools for, began to flourish.

This next decade, 2000 until (really) the present, represents that Renaissance period. We have moved beyond the applications to a network of multi-party, multi-functional—inter-enterprise supply chain solutions.

The full report can be read here.

Aaron Pittman