Reprinted from Inside DSC, Spring 2008

An opportunity for DSC
Technology leadership in the 3PL industry

Sit in on a few of our customer meetings or take a look at a recent RFP and you will notice an interesting phenomenon – whether it’s transportation, or warehousing or both, information technology is becoming a bigger and more important part of our total solution at DSC.
The growing needs of our particular industry, our changing customer needs and the explosive growth in digital information all combine to create an opportunity for incredible change and growth.

Let’s look at a few things that are changing in the overall world of Supply Chain Management:

  • As much of U.S. manufacturing has moved offshore to reduce costs, many products now cost more to deliver than they do to manufacture.
  • The elapsed time from concept to finished product has shrunk from years to weeks, or in some cases even days.
  • The emergence of a whole new industry centered around information has created value without the need to create physical products. (Companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, UTube, all generate millions by managing digital information.)
  • The increasing pace of change combined with the decreasing cycle times of production have created a “just-in-time” culture that starts with customer needs and drives demand right through the entire supply chain.
  • The software development cycle has accelerated as well. We are no longer afforded the luxury of delivering new functionality in yearly cycles. The need to stay competitive demands that constant improvement at an enterprise level become the norm.
  • Our customers know we can run warehouses. They are now asking for true partnership in the form of integrated systems in such a way that the information we manage becomes a seamless part of their enterprise, and they are beginning to ask if we can manage information that exists outside of the walls of our warehouses.
  • Like it or not, we live in a wireless world and the ability to deliver meaningful business content beyond simple email is an opportunity that we need to explore and capitalize on.
  • With the explosion of information available in today’s world it is becoming easier to do the standard tasks that used to take lots of paper and time. The emerging opportunity is the ability to do “what if” planning and begin to predict needs and directions based on patterns of information.
  • This same explosion is also making it harder to manage in the traditional ways. Moving from “What’s going on?” to “What’s going wrong?” is critical.

All of this presents a tremendous challenge to DSC and creates a specific set of challenges to our IT environment.

In these changing dynamics, our company operates right at the center of the supply chain – right at the intersection of Customer Driven Demand and Product Driven Supply. Our customers face the challenge of how to link these various disparate components of the supply chain—many owned and controlled by multiple partners.

To guarantee success in our industry, we can’t simply be “best-in-class” at the warehouse or load tendering level. We need to create the systems and the technical environment that allow us to manage the information flow as products move from design and raw materials through production and distribution into the hands of the end customer. This critical intersection is our business opportunity and the basis we are using to reformulate our digital information and technology strategy.

© May 2008, Inside DSC. All rights reserved.

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