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Gartner's Karen Peterson on ABC's of SCM

Karen Peterson is a Gartner vice president and research director recognized for her expertise in supply chain management. She recently addressed CIO's at SAP's annual U.S. conference in Orlando, where SCM and visibility within the supply chain dominated many conversations. Peterson provides insight and analysis into real-world adaptive supply chain networks--a great idea whose time has not quite yet come. Here she answers key questions on SCM trends for SearchSAP.com

What does ''visibility'' mean for SCM?
Today people are much more focused on being able to see what is going on within their own enterprises. The goal of supply chain visibility is to be able to see the entire supply chain and then to move beyond just seeing; to have proactive alerts as well as understand what can be done when reality deviates from plans. From a 'visibility' viewpoint, is there any cutting-edge software available?
We are still at the beginning of ''cutting edge software.'' The solutions that are the most cutting edge are those provided by the network services companies such as Descartes, Savi and Celarix. These are largely focused on the transportation portion of the supply chain. That said, most provide rudimentary visibility and have limited ability to handle alerts and notifications. Is there a good example of an ''adaptive'' supply chain?
We're still too early in this process. I can't think of one at this time. Maybe Dell--in that they replan every 5 minutes--and send the demand information to their suppliers as well. That's a common example, I know. What's the impact of the Internet on the supply chain?
Compression of time value of information. The Internet has made supply chains more aware of the data latency which is inherent in existing supply chains. The Internet can also help solve the problem of data latency by enabling more rapid dissemination of data and processes. Why do so many SCM implementations not deliver as promised?
There are quite a few reasons. Many have to do with "plain ole" change management - especially when an enterprise thinks that it can continue operating the same processes but just throw a little technology into the mix. SCM implementations must be accompanied by process change. Other reasons are: data impurity, solution immaturity, over-promising.

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