Future Developments: Developing Collaborative Supplier Partnerships
p. The shift in business today is clearly towards more collaboration between all members of the supply chain. One such development to be seen is more companies undertaking supplier development initiatives. In a poll conducted by Purchasing Magazine, 53% of respondents claimed they were utilizing supplier development techniques, but only a small fraction are involved to the extent of Honda of America. (10) This signifies a great opportunity for companies to focus on in the future.
Information sharing has become a key component in building sustainable competitive advantages in the marketplace. As the marketplace continues to change, so will the methods with which businesses communicate with one another. While many systems are currently in place, there is still a strong desire to make information more visible to members throughout the supply chain. By making information more easily visible, collaborative partners can improve the responsiveness of their entire supply chains. (6)
Supply chains of the future will be networks of vigorous trades, linking many independent units into groups with the ability to quickly react to market demand. Information visibility will be made possible through a wide range of computer software programs classified as Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment (CPFR) systems which enable instantaneous information regarding demand, forecasts, and inventory status. These systems even have the potential to provide information regarding weather forecasts and road conditions, which could be transmitted to delivery trucks to potentially avoid transportation issues. (6) CPFR systems have the ability expand their influence even farther as wireless Internet access becomes an integrated part of our society. This will allow connectivity to all personnel on the factory floor, as well as individuals in various other locations.