valantic launched a new cloud solution two weeks ago, one that monitors supply chains and makes bottlenecks transparent: the Connected Chain Manager (CCM). In our rubric “5 Questions for…” we spoke to Dr. Falk von Falkenhausen, Partner at valantic and Managing Director of the Competence Center for Supply Chain Excellence about the ability to plan logistic processes and make them transparent. In addition, we asked the questions why inventory monitoring is critical in times other than the era of the coronavirus and what advantages a cloud solution can offer for networking different suppliers.
Hello Falk! In the current situation due to the Corona/Covid-19 Pandemie weltweite Lieferketten abbrechen, it seems a bit cynical to launch a solution for supply chain monitoring. Was this planned from the outset?
No, we couldn’t have known that the situation would get this bad. I certainly couldn’t have foreseen anything that has happened. Regardless of the current crisis, however, companies are constantly confronting the challenge of not being able to fulfill delivery obligations. Sometimes a traffic jam on the highway or a longer-lasting machine breakdown is enough to create a problem. However, the current situation indicates just how important it is to always keep an eye on the supply chain. The view of the supply chain is always a view to the future.
What’s behind the new Connected Chain Manager (CCM) and what are its greatest benefits?
Our solution creates transparency in the supply chain. With the CCM, we bring together previously scattered information from all partners on a single platform in order to be able to assess supply situations for the next few weeks, for example. Here, we speak of the connected supply chain.
Important is that all partners can benefit specifically from this. A supplier receives information from his buyer, the buyer, in turn, is informed about his sub-suppliers’ production capacities, inventories, and supply situations. This creates a chain that provides information that can benefit all participants. And each partner still has control of his data and can determine who can see it.
What role does the cloud approach that you selected for the CCM play, and what benefits does it offer with regard to monitoring global supply chains?
With the cloud approach, we reduce application hurdles and we are ready to go right away. Employees can log into the system themselves and invite other partners. They receive an e-mail with a link and can create their own accounts within minutes. In addition, services from other providers can be incorporated quite easily thanks to the cloud-to-cloud integration.
In previous projects, we have implemented multi-level chains with many partners in just a few days. In sum, the cloud approach makes us faster and more flexible with regard to supply chain monitoring.
How has the Connected Chain Manager been received by customers thus far and are there particular industries that can profit especially from this supply chain monitoring solution?
When we began development three years ago, we believed that the benefits of a collaborative exchange of information were primarily for the large buyers. Meanwhile, the application has been received very positively by individual suppliers as well. In the end, they are also buyers and can enjoy the benefits in both directions. The more permanent the delivery relations are, the more sense it makes to use the Connected Chain Manager. For example, this is the case for supply chains in the automobile industry, but also for every other company that uses extended workbenches or orders the majority of its components from just a few suppliers.
Are you planning to expand the solution in the coming months?
We at valantic are using an agile development approach; this means that we can implement new customer requirements very quickly and keep enhancing the solution as we go. We have concrete plans for the next few weeks and months to incorporate additional cloud services, create an interface (API) for IoT integration, and add simple planning functionalities, a questionnaire module, and a taskboard for task management.
Thank you very much for the conversation!
Anne Wiegert conducted the interview.