Manufacturing is going global. This is not about the future. This is a reality of all manufacturing companies today. So, with such a reality, supply chain solutions is getting more and more traction and interest from IT managers and other people in companies. If I will use the language of one of my sales exec friends, supply chain solution turns from a vitamin to pain killer. Which means sales opportunity.
At the same time, supply chain is not a new topic for manufacturing companies. Very often PLM companies are focusing on supply chain with “CAD in mind”, which makes them looking mostly on design supply solutions. Many supply chain management opportunities are turning directly to ERP vendors and other vendors specialized on specific vertical supply chain management solutions. In my view, data becomes one of the most critical topic in every supply chain solution. In most of the situation, data needed for supply chain solutions “stick in the middle” between ERP, PLM and SCM. It combined from design data, manufacturing data, suppliers data. It is not easy. It requires openness and transparency between multiple systems. Let’s say the truth – it doesn’t work well in existing enterprise systems. These systems never been designed for openness and transparency.
The topic of supply chain compliance was discussed during recent PI Congress in Chicago two weeks ago. I found a good summary of PI Congress provided by CIMdata here. Here is an interesting passage from this write up related to supply chain compliance topic:
The first [panel] focused on supply chain transparency and traceability. This issue occurs at the intersection of PLM and ERP, and is critically important to firms that must increasingly compete on a global basis. The panel agreed there was a need for a common dataset on compliance issues, a common problem when selling in many countries. They recognized that PLM solution providers are challenged to provide this information in a timely fashion, and challenged the audience to help find or create new alternatives.
Common dataset is an interesting topic. It made me to think about the trend towards open data. I can see as part of broader discussion about BigData opportunity these days. In that context, I want to mention Open Data initiative led by some organizations – Open Data Institute (ODI) and Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF). The first one – ODI founded by Tim Berners Lee. The topic of open data is complex and I hope to speak about it in my future blog posts. You can find some information about open data on ODI website here. Another thing derived from open data is Open Definition initiatives. These are all new initiatives that mostly unknown in the enterprise software domain.
What is my conclusion? I think we are in the beginning of data revolution. To provide a better solutions these days, we need to have data available. It includes openness and data access. It also related to company data stored on company servers and, even more important, open data outside of organizations that must be available to everyone. In my view, common compliance data set is a perfect example of open data that must be available to enable future development of PLM supply chain solutions. Just my thoughts…
image courtesy of Open Knowledge Foundation.