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Picture of two people with a tablet in a warehouse, next to it a picture of trucks on a road and behind it a picture of a warehouse and a picture of a mountain road, Connected Chain Manager from valantic

Supply Chain Transparency and Collaboration with the Connected Chain Manager

With the Connected Chain Manager, the solution for inter-company collaboration and supply chain transparency, it is possible to incorporate as many customers and suppliers as you wish. You can visualize the whole delivery network with all relevant information, such as inventories, throughput times, parts lists, demands, and capacities. Create transparency in your single- or multi-level supply chain and provide planning security for yourself and your partners.

On this Web-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, simple interfaces connect all partners’ diverse system environments along the supply chain, which increases transparency and therefore allows better planning of logistics processes. This is why the CCM is ideally suited for demand and capacity leveling, order promising, and inventory monitoring including transit inventories. With integrated collaboration possibilities such as chat and task tracing, you can work efficiently with partners. Delivery reliability and capability increase and potential delivery bottlenecks can be avoided ahead of time. Daily synchronizations and data exchange between the partners are handled centrally and in compliance with the highest data security requirements. valantic Supply hain Excellence GmbH is TISAX (L3), ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 certified and relies on Microsoft Azure as a platform, with hosting in Western Europe.

The Connected Chain Manager can be used best if you exchange information regularly with the participating partners, e.g. about task management (list of open issues), a useful function within the CCM. It is also especially well-suited if the concern is ensuring transparency along the supply chain. The software can be used right away without time-consuming set-up and it can help you with production start-ups and supply bottlenecks in multi-level supply chains.

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Supply Chain Transparency and Collaboration with the Connected Chain Manager

Table of contents

Necessity of supply chain collaboration

In a globalized world, companies are confronted with a continuously increasing number of customers, suppliers and product variants. As a result, the complexity and requirements posed to supply chain management (SCM) are increasing. To maintain competitiveness and profitability, companies are highly dependent on a holistic SCM and the mastery of the associated complexity – internally, across company boundaries and along entire value chains.

If, for example, a supply bottleneck occurs somewhere in the world, the entire supply chain can temporarily come to a standstill or even collapse. Even many minor incidents can bring sand into the gears of supply chains: a traffic jam on the highway, a communication error between plants or a lengthy machine breakdown. Wherever companies are heavily dependent on the smooth running of all processes, there is even the threat of production downtimes and losses of millions in the event of an emergency. IT-supported transparency within the company, let alone across company boundaries to upstream stages of the supply chain, is often inadequate.

valantic’s Connected Chain Manager (CCM) builds bridges: As an innovative, Web-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, it connects all partners along the entire supply chain via a simple interface. In doing so, a multitude of relevant information is exchanged, which offers advantages to all parties involved both in critical situations and in regular operations: improved early detection of bottlenecks, fast and aligned coordination in case of a crisis as well as improved planning reliability and efficiency gains ultimately increase the competitiveness of the entire supply chain.

Overview of benefits for supply chain managers

Instantly ready for takeoff

No software installation: For the application of the Connected Chain Manager an Internet connection and browser are sufficient.

Multi-Level Transparency

The integrated user role concept allows tracking of materials on the supplier level (n-tier).

Data protection

All planning data is saved according to strict data protection directives in Europe.

Easy usability

Plain processes and clear visualizations make the operation of the Connected Chain Managers easy.

Attractive pricing model

You only pay what you are actually using: The payment of the Connected Chain Manager is a pure pay-per-use concept.

Flexible reporting

User-definable reports make the Connected Chain Manager adaptable to your specific needs.

Globalization requires an overview in supply chain management

Globalization and ever-increasing customer requirements put pressure on companies to deliver faster and faster while reducing costs for logistics, storage and transport. The resulting increased complexity in one’s own company and along entire supply chains not only leads to growing intransparency, but also entails coordination efforts and loss of control. This contradicts core objectives of Supply Chain Management (SCM), which aims for supply chains being more efficient, flexible and reactive, while at the same time both costs and efforts should be made transparent and systematically reduced.

In order to achieve these goals nevertheless, innovative and tailor-made IT solutions are required to bring together all relevant information. These solutions must not only focus on the own organization, but on the entire supply chain including all stakeholders – and if possible in real time. Not least for these reasons, the trend is moving more and more towards cloud solutions or web-based Software-as-a-Service platforms such as valantic’s Connected Chain Manager (CCM).

Immediate reaction in exceptional situations

Many heterogeneous, monolithic IT systems, including SCM and ERP systems, are usually in use along the value chains. In exceptional cases, such as machine failures, immediate notifications and a clear flow of information are essential. This is the only way to quickly analyze and evaluate the existing situation in order to initiate and coordinate suitable countermeasures. What happens if the affected companies and their systems do not communicate with each other at all or only in a very delayed manner?

In such cases, the affected stages of the supply chain are often notified about a potentially critical situation far too late. As a result, attempts are hectically made, usually bilaterally, to obtain the most necessary information by telephone and e-mail in order to initiate emergency measures and to identify a responsible contact person. Unfortunately, a coordinated, efficient counter-reaction usually falls by the wayside.

This is how to create transparency in the supply chain

Direct questions: Do you know your entire supply chain and all the neuralgic processes? Can you easily identify where capacity bottlenecks are imminent and where relevant stocks are kept? Do you know at which points potentials and efficiency gains could be realized?

The first challenge in creating transparency along the value chain is to consolidate all processes, data and figures within your own company in a clear and always up-to-date picture with the help of suitable IT systems. In a second step, especially against the background of increasingly interlinked and globally positioned supply chains, information should be provided, shared and analyzed with all relevant partners using suitable systems – only in this way a holistic view can be guaranteed.

There are only a few systems that, like valantic’s Connected Chain Manager (CCM), are able to systematically combine all relevant data. This can be done manually via upload (xlsx- or csv-format) or via an automated connection via web interfaces (REST-APIs). In both ways, the structures and material flow in supply chains can be made transparent and analyzed in real time.

As a web-based solution, the CCM can be implemented very quickly and provides a reliable analysis of the status quo. Therefore, the software is ideally suited to achieve coordination and solution finding in the value chain in critical supply situations. Joint measures include additional extra tours, temporary shortage management and the deliberate shifting of orders.

Also in regular operations, the CCM shows its strengths when it comes to transparency. Regardless of whether in your own company or along the supply chain, capacity bottlenecks, overstocks and demand fluctuations can be detected. Paired with suitable key figures and as a result of the continuous monitoring, early warnings of shortcomings and potentials for efficiency increases are identified. But which key figures are the right ones here?

Meaningful and up-to-date KPIs

After consolidating all data, the structured monitoring of your supply chains with the help of suitable key figures let you keep an overview at all times. In this way, bottlenecks, exceptions and risks can be identified at an early stage. Bad surprises and enormous costs (e.g. due to missing parts or extra tours) can thus be avoided. Especially in critical situations, but also during regular operation, communication is based on a common view and a single point of truth. Dashboards show the current situation in real time at a glance.

valantic’s Connected Chain Manager (CCM) offers the right key figures and reports for almost every application. Cross-tier stock ranges, capacitive utilization, supply bottlenecks and much more. You have the choice: meaningful standard reports? Or a maximum of flexibility? Whatever you decide on: The common data base of the supply chain partners enables real-time visualization and updating of all key figures and thus always a holistic view of the current situation, future developments and analyses of the past. In this way, you gradually increase the competitiveness and performance of your entire supply chain.

Collaborative planning and control of the supply chain

Inter-company transparency is the necessary, robust basis for comprehensive planning and optimal decision-making. Because information is shared directly with partners and work is done using the same database, common efficiency potential can be exploited and the performance of the entire supply chain increased.

Integrated planning and control of your supply chain with the Connected Chain Manager (CCM) guarantees you smooth processes, on-time and on-budget fulfillment of customer requirements, greater efficiency and the potential to significantly reduce your costs. In this context, the CCM supports you both in the tactical/operational control of your production as well as in the strategic planning of contingents and capacities. Once customers and suppliers have been integrated, immediate insights into all relevant processes within the supply chain can be shared across all stages. In this way you protect yourself and your partners from wrong or suboptimal decisions and avoidable costs due to inadequate information flows. The definition, coordination and implementation of measures is supported by corresponding collaboration modules directly in the CCM.

Application case: Monitoring of incoming deliveries in the short-term area

With the CCM, you can map inventory ranges to the material number level for all integrated suppliers with central monitoring. Incoming material flows and inventories in your suppliers’ outgoing goods are allocated according to your requirements (delivery calls or orders). Ranges are generated, which also consider delivery times and defined minimum targets. If the inventory ranges drop below a specified threshold or if there is a supply shortage due to a late arrival, you can see this from the appropriate KPI right away. You can react quickly and communicate proactively with your suppliers. You also know whether there is sufficient inventory at your suppliers and you can request a special transport if necessary. Since the CCM also works for all partners, you can create this transparency for your customers and ensure that they generate sufficient inventory ranges with their deliveries and inventories in outgoing goods and can satisfy all needs.

This increases the reliability of material supply along the entire supply chain, makes any bottlenecks visible early on, and improves communication and coordination thanks to common data stocks.

Application case: Medium- and long-term planning of delivery capacities

In order to make not just the short-term supply situation transparent to suppliers and customers, coordinate and monitor it, there is so-called delivery capacity coverage in the CCM. You can use this function to work with your partners to synchronize and plan medium- and long-term demands and delivery capacities on the monthly level.

For example, your customer provides you with a preview of his needs on the monthly level and would like to know if you can fulfill these. You can simply transfer delivery capacities on the material number level, also with flexibility upward and downward, to the relevant partner. Both you and your customer see immediately whether delivery capacities are sufficient. Meaningful KPIs and a graphic presentation of the data clarify the situation.

Another example is the planning of your demands with regard to your suppliers. They have already entered delivery capacities for each material and every month in the coming year in CCM. Now, you can compare secondary demands, which are calculated using your customers’ demands. Having all this information in one place puts you in a position to plan your delivery calls so that they are appropriate for secondary demands and the promised delivery capacities. You can react early on to deviations and, for example, smooth out demand peaks or request additional delivery capacities.

Application case: Order promising

With the order list, you can communicate orders, delivery calls, and other demands to your suppliers. They can either confirm quantities and dates or communicate new date and quantity proposals. In case of changes or confirmations, the status of the affected data records is updated and written back to your leading ERP system if necessary. This way, you make agreements via a single platform and maintain an overview at all times. Agreements that are otherwise made on the telephone or in other ways are documented centrally on the platform and can be viewed and are transparent for all participants. The order list is therefore an ideal instrument for daily cooperation between customers and suppliers.

Application case: Collaboration via task management (list of open issues)

Use the integrated collaboration possibilities, such as the list of open issues, in order to prioritize, categorize, work through, and document tasks efficiently. You can create various lists for different projects and partners.

The lists can be used internally and in cooperation with your customers and suppliers. Here, as many external partners can be invited to cooperate as you wish, also in the form of guest users if they are not themselves active on the system. Within a few minutes, you can start a new initiative for coordinating and documenting tasks. On request, you will be notified via e-mail of changes to your tasks, so you will remain informed about the current state of affairs at all times. You can incorporate additional information such as files and screenshots easily and monitor progress with appropriate KPIs (e.g. adherence to deadline).

Application case: Multi-level supply chains

Network across several levels with your partners, from parts suppliers to end product manufacturers. Thanks to the exchange of data, such as primary demands, backlog information, and inventories, inventory ranges are calculated considering the entire supply chain. This is how bottleneck components and critical paths can be identified, inventories within the chain optimized, and bull-whip effects prevented.

FAQs: Your supply chain and the Connected Chain Manager

Are you curious about the Connected Chain Manager as an effective solution for supply chain transparency and collaboration? In our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) you can find out how you can optimize your supply chain management processes in detail with the CCM, reduce costs and effort and how quickly the open service platform can be implemented.

What goals do we want to achieve with the Connected Chain Manager?

Basically, those responsible for supply chain management pursue two goals: On the one hand, they want to make their supply chain increasingly flexible, reactive, resilient and effective. On the other hand, they want to make costs and efforts as transparent as possible in order to systematically reduce them and make supply chains more efficient. Both goals depend on tailor-made, innovative IT solutions such as CCM, which focuses not only on the company’s own organization but on the entire supply chain.

How do I create transparency for customers, suppliers and the entire supply chain?

For a high level of transparency in the supply chain, users should be able to provide their systems and relevant information quickly and easily on a comprehensive platform. Notification and integration of customers and suppliers must also be very easy and should not involve high costs. As an innovative web platform, the CCM offers the necessary flexibility to enable partners to selectively release their data – thus, in addition to shared transparency, data security is guaranteed at all times.

What are the benefits of a fully transparent supply chain?

In a transparent supply chain, exceptions and problems can be identified and evaluated immediately using suitable key figures. As soon as, for example, a transit fails to arrive or a machine breaks down at a certain point in the supply chain, the resulting effects can be made visible. Through early, joint definition and coordination of countermeasures (e.g. rescheduling of orders or production lots), serious consequences for the supply situation can in many cases even be completely avoided.

How do I improve existing processes in my supply chain?

In order to improve the procedures and processes in the supply chain, these must first be known in detail. This also includes the interlinkages and dependencies across company boundaries. This transparency can be achieved through structured data exchange at all levels. Using suitable key figures, joint measures and planning approaches, potentials can then be identified and raised step by step.

How do I reduce the costs and efforts in my supply chain?

End-to-end transparency and a holistic view of the supply chain are the key to reduce expenses at various points. A number of cost drivers can be quantified in this way: Overstocks and shortfalls, avoidable extra tours and incorrect deliveries, capacity reserves and bottlenecks. The special feature of using the Connected Chain Manager (CCM) is that the focus does not have to be solely on your company. In many cases, savings potential can only be identified by taking a holistic view of the supply chain, even across company boundaries.

Which key figures are suitable for an effective monitoring of my supply chain?

The key figures best suited for effective supply chain monitoring always depend on the focus and the respective application case. The key figures that have proven to be effective for monitoring the supply chain as a whole and its individual parts include stock range (cumulated across the supply chain), upper/lower stock limits, and corridors for capacities. This allows both bottlenecks and efficiency potential to be reliably identified.

For which central fields of application is the Connected Chain Manager (CCM) a suitable solution?

The Connected Chain Manager can be used in many different ways and addresses three core application fields:

  1. Supply chain collaboration and joint data exchange with support of integrated task management functionalities.
  2. Monitoring of supply chains with flexible reporting modules: both you as well as your suppliers and customers have an overview of all relevant key figures, evaluations are available in tabular and graphical form.
  3. The integrated planning functionalities enable not only the control of the entire supply chain but also the internal planning taking into account all available resources.

How quickly can the Connected Chain Manager (CCM) be set up and what support do you receive?

The Connected Chain Manager (CCM) uses all the advantages of a cloud and web-based application. A central advantage is the fast setup: It usually takes only a few hours from independent online registration to filling the system with your own data, from integrating the first customers and suppliers to creating initial analyses. Our support team will assist you with technical problems. If required, we will also prepare an individual offer for comprehensive support from our supply chain experts.

Is there the possibility of an automated connection of my ERP or other systems?

The Connected Chain Monitor (CCM) offers the possibility to connect your systems via open WebAPIs. Of course, this also applies to your customers and suppliers: Here too, data can be integrated automatically. If required, our experts will be happy to provide support and help you set up initial interfaces and data transfer as well as setting up dashboards.

I already have many IT systems in use. Why should I additionally use the Connected Chain Manager (CCM)?

With our CCM you and your partners link all relevant supply chains, processes and material flows. The CCM does not replace your existing systems, but can communicate with them via WebAPIs if required and offers a valuable addition: a common view of the entire supply chain. This can also generate added value within your company: Information can be communicated, processes visualized and meaningful reports created.

Where is my data stored and what security standards are met?

Your data and that of your partners is stored exclusively in the Microsoft Azure Cloud on European servers in compliance with the highest security standards. Data protection is a top priority for Microsoft Cloud Services. In addition, all communications are encrypted using SSL (SHA-2 with 2048-bit RSA).

What are the system requirements for the use of CCM?

As a web-based solution, our Connected Chain Manager is largely independent of the hardware you use. All you need is your PC or notebook with a common, up-to-date browser. For the automated connection of data from your ERP system, an appropriate software module can be installed (for SAP R/3 or S/4HANA, for example, a Remote Function Call (RFC) module).

6 steps for a successful go-live of your supply chain collaboration solution

The Connected Chain Manager (CCM) can be set up independently online within a short time. This allows you to immediately integrate first supply chain partners, upload initial data and create quick reports.

Online registration

Create your own account with your organization in a few minutes online and free of charge to a certain extent.

Create structures

Create initial supply chain structures (sites, materials, customers, suppliers, supply relations) quickly and graphically supported.

Integrate partners

Your customers and suppliers can be invited and integrated very easily via the graphical interface.

Upload transactional data

Mass-upload data (e.g., demands, stocks) or integrate them automatically via WebAPI in a next step.

Select key figures

From a number of key figures and reports, you select those that are suitable for your application field.

Collaboration and planning

Use the CCM as SaaS solution so that it is flexible in terms of time and money for your monitoring and planning needs along the supply chain.

Test the Connected Chain Manager and start with supply chain collaboration

We would like to introduce the Connected Chain Manager to you personally.

Image of Markus Schedel, Product Manager at valantic

Markus Schedel

Markus Schedel
Product Manager, valantic Supply Chain Excellence