Singapore ICT company NCS and cloud-based supply chain management developer One Network Enterprises from the United States have partnered to provide SCM solutions to logistics and manufacturing businesses in Asia on a SaaS (software-as-a-service) model.
Bruce Jacquemard, executive staff member at One Network Enterprises (ONE), said this marked the company's first partnership in Asia. It first scouted for opportunities in China around four years ago, he added during a phone interview Thursday.
The cloud delivery platform is well suited to supply chain management, Jacquemard said. SCM gives visibility in areas such as demand, distribution, capacity and risk, all of which impact the supply chain and the various companies involved. By having the application on the cloud, all parties including manufacturers, inbound and outbound carriers and freight forwarders, can easily come "on board" to contribute their value to the flow, he explained.
"SCM is not a chain. It is a network [where] many different entities participate to deliver an outcome," Jacquemard emphasized. The cloud or Internet provides a very good framework for a multi-party environment as well as fast time-to-value, with little or no IT infrastructure that has to be built, he noted.
Another benefit of using the SaaS model is "everyone from manufacturing to logistics to resellers" can avoid expensive and time-consuming software upgrades, he added.
Rachel Goh, vice president of NCS, concurred. Speaking at the same interview, she added that because the cloud platform has scalability to accommodate an unpredictable number of users at any time, the benefits of SCM are enhanced when there is a larger community and more interactions.
As part of the agreement, NCS will be the implementer and systems integrator in Asia-Pacific for One Network Enterprises' SCM solutions which offers capabilities ranging from demand forecast to real-time monitoring and automatic replenishment. The partnership will first cover the core logistics and manufacturing markets in Singapore, China and Australia.
Take on challenges and opportunities
According to Goh, SCM solutions are highly relevant in Asia due to the sheer amount of supply chain activity. China, for example, is one of the biggest manufacturing epicenters globally, and a lot of SCM there is not yet optimized, she pointed out.
Jacquemard added that managing risk in supply chain and having alternate supply sources are more crucial and challenging today, considering the dominance of contract manufacturing and recent history of global natural disasters.
A cloud-based SCM system helps companies replan and optimize around these factors thanks to speed, visibility and scalability. And given the large size of Asia's manufacturing footprint, having these abilities is critical, he pointed out.
Goh also highlighted that the ability to see and response quickly to dynamic market forces with cloud SCM is not just useful in situations of crisis, but also opportunity. "[It's about] getting your supply chain to sweat and work for you, and capitalize on windows of opportunity."