By Leah Knight, Senior Director, Solutions Marketing, SAP Ariba
During a recent business trip, I had an experience that made me marvel at the amazing evolution of collaboration technologies. While I was waiting in line to check my bag, my connecting overseas flight was cancelled. Yet I was able to rebook on a different airline through my airline’s phone support so quickly that by the time I reached the check-in counter, the gate attendant already had my new itinerary and could send my bag on to the correct, new flight. It was a great example of perfect data creation and management, despite the disparate systems, technologies, languages, and regions touched by my rebook.
The term “perfect data” refers to 100% accuracy of the information and insights exchanged between companies and their trading partners. Perfect data makes a perfect customer experience possible, whether this is a perfect order in retail and manufacturing supply chains – where customers receive the right product, in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity – or whether it enables the type of seamless customer support I experienced in the airport. And perfect data is key across all industries to enable digital commerce.
Staples Australia offers a clear example of this. During a session at SAP Ariba Live in Singapore, Vijay Vital, SAP supply chain lead for Staples Australia, discussed the importance of having perfect data to enable drop shipping and digital retailing. The company’s drop shipping fulfillment model allows it to rely on suppliers to fulfill customer orders directly, minimizing the need to maintain stock in distribution centers or address any follow-ons or disputes. This has enabled Staples Australia to fully embrace a digital retailing model, which is an important competitive advantage – especially as retailers increasingly move away from brick-and-mortar stores and towards digital business.
Staples Australia utilizes demand planning, ERP, and e-commerce solutions to anticipate customer demand and manage orders from customers. In addition, the company uses a supply chain collaboration solution to convert those sales orders from customers to purchase orders, which are passed to the appropriate merchandise vendors. This collaboration system also allows vendors to send order confirmations and advance ship notices to ensure each order is fulfilled – all with 100% accuracy, every time. Any follow-ons or disputes regarding orders are handled by the merchandise vendors directly. Staples Australia has done some amazing work creating templates that ensure that consistent and comprehensive data is sent to and obtained from vendors, who can either log into the collaboration system or integrate it directly with their own back-end systems. The result? Seamless supply chain collaboration and perfect data.
For additional details, check out the “Using SAP Ariba Solutions to Drive Visibility into Direct Materials and Merchandise Supply Chains” Slideshare presentation. You can also find helpful information about integrating systems on Vijay’s blog.