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Posted Date: 12/8/2010

WHERE IS THE VALUE IN A SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTION?

Gary M. Barraco

When a retail organization makes an investment in a software solution - such as product lifecycle management (PLM) - that impacts critical business units, return on investment is anticipated - and expected.

However, the probable business value of most solutions is likely not as clear-cut as the buyer would like it to be. Even when there are clear benefits, and case studies have illustrated remarkable payback, the range of reported benefits can be extremely wide and there is no generally agreed-upon model for predicting ROI. Many buyers mistakenly believe that numbers, and only numbers, determine return on investment.

In analyzing the results of a PLM implementation, for example, we first need to understand that conventional PLM solutions don't traditionally have the range to cover the scope of the full product lifecycle by spanning supply chain execution (SCE) tasks too. Recognizing this gap, ecVision developed XpressCommerce®. By allowing SCE tasks to be combined with a PLM solution, Xpress Commerce facilitates what should be called a Product Lifecycle Execution™ (or PLE™) solution. And in the long-run, this means the ROI becomes more visible and measurable to all.  

The scope for PLE™ includes everything from gathering early line plan requirements to building a collection plan through multiple stages of collaboration with the factories and vendors on product design, capacity and/or material reservations, development and costing. This is typically where the PLM functionality ends. SCE tasks pick up at the point when goods are ordered and "needle is put to cloth," then manage and track the production and execute the necessary shipping requirements through to receipt into the warehouse. 

Joining these functions together in a single solution unifies the process and supports one view and one source of data for both international and domestic sourcing for private label brands, which have become the industry standard. Through the integration of disparate systems, organizations and geographies come together. Data is consolidated to create a hub that captures all the information and manages this information across multiple enterprise systems for the utmost efficiency. 

In a 2007 report from AMR Research Inc., corporate initiatives become imperatives that differentiate best-in-class organizations. These organizational imperatives are a great way to illustrate return on investment (ROI). The reality is that these imperatives are driving global sourcing strategies and initiatives. The companies that have the most successful global sourcing programs have tied these imperatives to the success of their initiatives. These include: ensuring reliable supply, mitigating risk and reducing and containing the costs of goods and services.

In a free whitepaper, ecVision matches these corporate goals with the features and functionality that set XpressCommerce apart from other providers' solutions. In each of these subject areas, we identify a corporate goal, and then show how value is derived by using a set of sophisticated technology features found in XpressCommerce. Click here to download your copy of the ecVision White Paper: "Where is the Value in a Supply Chain Solution?" You'll learn more about the collaboration and visibility tools that have enabled hundreds of retailers and their training partners to keep a tight rein on the supply stream and ensure there are no ripples in the chain that could lead to disruption. 

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