Collaboration and data exchange within the supply chain is a decisive factor for German companies that aim to increase the efficiency of procurement processes. This view is held by two-thirds of the total of 150 logistics and supply chain managers surveyed for the 17th Hermes-Barometer on “Collaboration in the Supply Chain”. Factors that promise a better overview within the supply chain, a higher degree of efficiency and more precise coordination of processes are rated as particularly critical to success. However, when it comes to implementation, companies face technological and personnel obstacles. Our recent blog post provides a detailed insight into the results of the survey.
The majority of companies surveyed for the 17th Hermes Barometer have recognized the high potential of cross-company collaboration and operational networking within the supply chain. At 65 percent, well over half of the respondents believe that in the future, efficiency improvements in the supply chain will only be possible through cooperation and data exchange with business customers and suppliers.
In larger companies with 250 to 1,000 employees, as many as 100 percent of respondents share this view. Around seven in ten companies (68 percent) state that they already rely on intensive cooperation with business customers and suppliers in their procurement processes. Across all company sizes, however, around half (55 percent) of the companies admit that they are aware of the potential of collaborative processes but are not yet fully exploiting it.
Shared data and information: Transparency as a success factor
Most decision-makers consider the effect of collaborative work on the topic of visibility within the supply chain to be particularly relevant: Three-quarters of respondents believe an increased transparency through a shared view of the supply chain to be critical to success.
Among companies with 250 to 1,000 employees as many as 83 percent confirm this thesis.
“Transparency is both the prerequisite and the result of collaborative processes – especially when they are digitally supported,” explains Moritz Gborglah, Division Manager and digital transformation expert at Hermes International, a division of Hermes Germany. “Sharing data and information enables joint control, and a shared utilization in turn fosters the collection of high-quality data. In this way, collaborative processes can be continuously optimized.”
Barriers: Lack of networking, high costs and few human resources
The positive assessment is offset by numerous technical and organizational obstacles to implementing collaborative approaches. Across all company sizes, more than half of those surveyed (57 percent) see the time and expense involved in implementing the necessary technologies as an obstacle. Companies with 250 to 1,000 employees regard this as a particular hurdle (83 percent).
In this size range, technological challenges also stand in the way of successful implementation, making it more difficult to merge information and data. Three-quarters of respondents cite incompatible IT systems and data formats in this context.
Overall, however, the survey participants rate a lack of personnel resources for intensive cooperation with partners as the most significant obstacle hindering the realization of successful collaboration (65 percent). Other obstacles cited include security concerns when sharing data with other players in the supply chain (61 percent) and a lack of networking with suppliers and trading partners (59 percent). “SMEs in particular often lack the internal expertise and sufficient staff capacity to cope with the diverse requirements of collaborative networking.
In this context, external support can assist in order to enable or accelerate implementation,” says Moritz Gborglah.