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“Connected Supply Chain" is designed to address future challenges in logistics due to the complexity of the supplier and production network as well as the volatility of the markets by using new processes and enhanced digitalization and innovative Industry 4.0 solutions.

Supply chains and, in particular, their transport networks are characterized by a high number of involved parties. The participants in these networks, which are characterized by interdependencies include in addition to OEMs other large process partners such as suppliers, logistics service providers and freight forwarders. While the various interdependencies and heterogeneous processes lead to a very high degree of complexity, there is little transparency regarding the entire Supply Chain. However, transparency is absolutely necessary for the operational, tactical, and strategic transportation management and planning, and it is the top priority to ensure the desired degree of process transparency and Supply Chain visibility.

In order to meet the requirements of the automotive industry, five goals for the "Connected Supply Chain" were defined by BearingPoint in cooperation with a large OEM:

  • Process transparency by providing suppliers' transport notifications in the case of freight forwarders, whose reference to the OEMs' call-off and the visualization of transports using GPS data in a cockpit interface
  • Information aggregation by providing and retrieving information from ERP systems on a consolidation platform and linking the track & trace information to deliveries
  • by involving suppliers and freight forwarders in the creation of a supply chain network
  • Analysis options by consolidating internal and external data sources to expand existing indicators and capture new ones to optimize supply control
  • Forecast and simulation options that allow users to create their own forecast scenarios in the cockpit and assess their impact on supply security

Consequently, all relevant topics are structured with the help of "Connected Supply Chain" from data gathering and shipment tracking (track & trace) to predictive functions (predictive analytics), which are becoming more relevant due to current and future technologies. The goal of the "Connected Supply Chain" is to provide more transparency regarding various aspects, from transport notifications to the delivery of the material in the goods receipt. Thus, schedule and quantity variances are recognized early on in the process and displayed in a transparent manner - "Identification & Visualization."

Afterwards the variances can be analyzed and future developments can be forecasted - "Analysis & Forecast." This is why dispatching functions such as materials and transport management, as well as operative functions such as the physical collection of materials in the goods receipt, are capable to react to variances and events along the supply chain by using appropriate warnings (alerts) - "Act and Optimize." Thresholds for warnings can be set individually in a cockpit interface by a responsible end user according to their requirements while taking into account the variety of planning values, process partners and materials in a supply chain.

In addition to the provision, correlation and visualization of all relevant data regarding the supply chain (order data, notification, ASN, GPS data, goods receipt), a simplified and smooth solution for supply-critical process variances is made available. The cockpit interface developed in cooperation with the OEM and based on the design-thinking approach not only helps increase process transparency and efficiency, but also increases user-friendliness while reducing system and media breaks. This makes the management of the Supply Chain more efficient and, in addition to creating transparency, ultimately increases the security of supply.