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A few months ago, ACSIS (in partnership with Supply Chain Digest) surveyed 110 supply chain executives in chemical, food & beverage, consumer products, pharmaceutical, and other manufacturing sectors to uncover the priorities, expectations and challenges of third-party integration.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that only 10% of manufacturers consider that they’ve successfully integrated supply chain partners into their IT systems, or that 80% rely on email as their means of information reporting with supply chain partners.

But what might surprise you is that partner integration doesn’t have to be time-consuming, costly or complex.

And that’s exactly what we explore in a new ACSIS content series about Supply Chain Visibility in an Outsourced World.

In our survey, manufacturers cited complexity, security and costs as the key barriers to integration. A solution that can break down those barriers has to be:

  • Simple: Acts as a hub and is easy to deploy. Seasons change. Partners change. You need a lightweight solution that sits on top of your existing network and allows partners to exchange data using the technology and format of their choosing.
  • Fast: Minimal training (less than an hour) needed to get users up and running. Easy to use, task-oriented transactions can ease the deployment process, minimize training needs (which is especially important given the high average industry turnover), and ensure seamless integration with ERP.
  • Bidirectional: Partners are not only able to share and view information, but also complete tasks, such as printing shipping labels and other shipping documents directly at their locations (and you receive immediate notification of those actions).
  • Secure: Sits “outside” of company systems. Security issues often arise when a company allows outside suppliers to access its ERP system. You need a solution that provides a layer of extraction between you and your partners.

What you might also find surprising are the financial improvements you can realize from effective partner integration, such as:

  • 5% improvement in inventory turns and shorter lead times
  • 30% reduction in safety stock based on visibility of accurate demand
  • 19% reduction in inventory carrying costs

We developed ACSIS Edge Network not only to provide visibility into your extended supply network, but also to help you save money, improve efficiency and accuracy, shorten delivery times, and reduce security risks. If you’re wondering about the financial and operational impact that ACSIS could have on your organization, contact us for an assessment of the gaps and opportunities in your supply chain.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on Partner Visibility Challenges & The Reasons Behind the Disconnect