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From Supply Chain to Supply Tube

In project based logistics, there is great pressure to keep costs under control. Because of the ad hoc character of logistic processes and cooperation with different suppliers, customers and partners, this can’t be realized by standardization. That’s why the way in which we cooperate has to be changed: we have to shift from a supply chain to a supply tube. Thanks to this shift, costs can be reduced, quality and speed can be increased and the desired flexibility can be maintained.

The Uberization of Project Logistics

The needs of the market change. The customer demands more and more: shorter delivery times, lower prices and more information. This can only be realized with supply chain collaboration, chain management and chain integration. Or, speaking in IT terms: there is a need for a seamless information exchange, fast and easy integration by using a standard supply chain platform or ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), and smart workflows to get the information at the right place, at the right time.

IT has to take care of making collaboration with external parties as easy, simple and efficient as possible, without losing control of your data or security.

From Supply Chain to Supply Tube

The term ‘supply chain’ fits the way in which project logistics is being organized in most situations. In a chain, only a few links are connected to each other. Because of this, there is a lack of overview and transparency of the logistic process as a whole.

That’s why we need to move to a new vision on logistics: the supply tube. Within the supply tube, all companies involved in the whole logistic process collaborate seamlessly with each other. All data is being aggregated and by means of smart workflows, the right information can be distributed at the right time to all stakeholders. Examples:

  • Customers about expected time of delivery
  • Suppliers about forecasted orders
  • Logistic partners about forecasted orders
  • Control tower employees about the whole need for transportation, which enables smart combinations of shipments to reduce costs.
  • Management about all relevant KPI's from the complete process.

Logistic innovation in practice

What we see is that our customers who have the lead in their markets, tend to move in the way of transparency and the sharing of data. They put portals in place to share information with their clients — or even with the customers of their clients— or even further. Of course, they want to insert this data only once, to save time and to prevent errors.

We can see more and more that suppliers and customers insert the data themselves in their systems by means of a machine-to-machine interface or internet portal. This has huge advantages: more transparency and higher efficiency. At the same time, this requires an other way of thinking and designing processes and IT. That is exactly what I help customers with in my role as a sustainability coach. One of the tools I use for that is Star Connect.

Star Connect: the data director

Star Connect registers real-time information flows within your application landscape by means of simple chain integration. Star Connect is the director who stores data correctly, secure and findable in every desired application (ERP/ESD/EDI/WMS). This way, you are able to connect systems – both internal systems and third party systems- with each other in a quick and secure manner. Not only will this solve today’s challenges, but it provides a powerful foundation for the future: with Star Connect, you can solve all future integration questions quickly and adequately.