Commerce networks for manufacturers are progressing from traditional point-to-point communications to collaborative commerce networks that support many-to-many interactions among manufacturers and their trading partners, according to a new report by IDC Manufacturing Insights.
The paper establishes the context for commerce networks in manufacturing companies’ procurement and sourcing efforts and offers guidance for moving through the phases of commerce network participation, IDC said.
Commerce networks have assisted manufacturers in procuring direct and indirect materials for more than 15 years, the reports said. Over this time, commerce networks have progressed from largely EDI-based, point-to-point data transmission, to richly interactive hubs for a manufacturer and its suppliers and partners to share structured and unstructured data.
Today, commerce networks support near-real-time communication and drive efficiency gains throughout manufacturing supply chains. The industry is on the precipice of a significant transformation, a transformation that leverages all the 3rd Platform technologies (cloud, social, mobile, and big data) and moves manufacturers toward true “collaboration” with their business networks. The core questions manufacturers must address are what expanded role they want commerce networks to play in their sourcing processes and how can they participate successfully in these commerce networks.
The ultimate goal of these commerce networks and modernized B2B infrastructures is to support the seamless many-to-many interactions that run throughout a supply chain. Manufacturers are on a path to reach this goal, but as with all transformations, much work still needs to be done, according to the report said.