Social focus can benefit supply chain management


Companies should focus on social processes and greater collaboration with business partners to bring widespread improvements to the supply chain, according to a recent report from Enterprise Irregulars.

Organizations are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve efficiency and streamline the manufacturing process. According to the report, both can be achieved by integrating social processes into supply chain community management practices.

"This process of social business transformation will require both advances in social technology ... as well as changes to the way we do business," contributor Dion Hinchcliffe wrote for the news provider. 

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"Fortunately, one of the great attributes of the larger social business community is that it generally focuses as much on the business and cultural changes as it does the enabling technology."

"Social" has been a buzzword in the enterprise this year. Companies are attempting to leverage the ideas of a wider user base in order to lend more value to certain business processes and inject new ways of thinking into the organization. The trend has been especially prevalent for the use of business intelligence.

The same hasn't been said of supply chain management, Hinchcliffe said.

"In my workshops at Enterprise 2.0 Conference in years past, I’ve had manufacturers and assembly line managers come up to me to say that social tools have been moving into their area of the business, but it’s mostly been horizontal tools or very focused niche solutions," he said.

But that's no longer the case. As collaborative technology creeps deeper into the organization, it appears that supply chains are getting a taste of the social life, according to the report.

However, a true focus on social capabilities will require widespread change both within the organization and across the entire supply chain. All aspects of the process will have to buy into a renewed focus on social initiatives for them to be as effective as possible, Derek Singleton wrote for the Software Advice blog. Hinchcliffe cited Singleton's post in exploring the social side of the supply chain.

A report from IDC Manufacturing Insights published in August offered similar praise for social technology within the supply chain. According to the research firm, social platforms will allow a company to engage users in open dialogue in order to share insights and ideas on certain projects or aspects of the manufacturing line. A dedicated platform will make the practice much more efficient, the report added.