Creating a great new product or service is only part of the puzzle for a successful business. A solid supply chain is essential, but it can be hard to meet the needs of a disparate group of customers and suppliers. Successful risk management is challenging in the face of new technologies, diverse markets and growing customer expectations. Great service must be balanced with cost efficiency.
For a supply chain to perform well, there’s a lot to consider. You need inventory optimization and rapid fulfilment capability, sustainability and compliance must be factored in, and flexibility and customizability are key. You also need transparency and oversight before you can make informed decisions and improve processes.
The modern supply chain is a complex beast. There are many different systems and platforms to integrate. Multiple ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems are the norm, and they need to chime with warehouse, transport, and customs management platforms. It’s becoming tougher for companies to maintain control and visibility.
Of 209 global companies surveyed by PwC, 95% agreed that discrepancies between supply chain entities have increased in the past three years, and 74% agreed that the number of entities in the supply chain has gone up. There’s a tangible need for better visibility and control. The average company has seven separate ERP instances, and confidence that ERP is going to close the widening gaps between the perceived importance and the actual performance of most supply chain elements is waning, according to Supply Chain Insights research.
MP Objects (MPO), a software company with commercial headquarters in Boston, has crafted “supply chain orchestration” software that empowers companies to take control of supply chains and control costs and customer service levels. By offering real-time optimization of supply chains, MPO’s SaaS platform reveals the true cost of every order and enables partners to meet high customer expectations.
The idea behind MPO’s proprietary approach is that superior customer experience can only be achieved with the right blend of best of breed product vendors and service providers. The missing component is end-to- end supply chain orchestration, which highlights and governs every single step in the order life cycle.
In September 2016 the company announced its first round of $10 million growth equity investment from Updata Partners of Washington, D.C. MPO’s cloud-based SaaS allows logistics leaders and its customers including eBay, IBM , Microsoft, Dow Chemical, Terex, Patagonia and Oakley, to manage individual customer orders through today’s increasingly complex and global supply chains. MPO has experienced strong revenue growth in recent years, and it will use the funds to further expand in the U.S. and scale its marketing and sales.
The founders have years of experience working for multi-billion dollar corporations in supply chain and IT, where they noticed that existing platforms don’t deliver the integration andflexibility that’s needed to meet stringent service level agreements. They set out on a mission to improve supply chain management and enable companies to balance operational needs with customer needs.
As a use case, DSV Solutions, which provides third-party warehousing, logistics and transport services, uses the MPO application at its facilities across Europe to manage the transport activities of its customers, representing hundreds of diverse products that need shipping across the continent. One particular area where the software helps DSV is in freight settlement. MPO contains all the rates agreed with carriers so that DSV can match the invoices it receives against the transport orders automatically. “It used to be a huge job to check all the invoices, and sometimes it didn’t even get done at all. Now we’re a hundred percent sure that we are not overcharged,” said Meinderdjan Botman, Chief Commercial Officer at DSV Solutions. “We now have much better insight into the cost and profit of our transport activities. For the first time our logistics has become measurable and transparent at the customer level. We can now continually compare carriers’ performance against their Service Level Agreements.”
Supply chain visibility and collaboration is the fastest growing supply chain market, according to ARC research. Supply chain orchestration makes it possible to plan optimal work flows for every order that comes in and ensures that the execution of those orders is completely transparent. A high level of insight depends upon a detailed costing system that calculates the precise cost of every action before you take it.
This kind of granular control is one of the reasons that Unilever is investing in supply chain orchestration. “Our goal isn’t necessarily to be cheaper than the competition, but we must add more value than they do,” said Neil Humphrey, Unilever Supply Chain Company Chairman. “We have classified innovations with different lead times so we can respond more quickly depending on the consumer and business needs.”