Building a 3D Value Supply Chain

If the past is an indication, today's supply chain bears little resemblance to tomorrow's. For one thing, manufacturers are working to find new ways to extract data-driven value and leverage mobile and cloud-based applications for simple anytime/anywhere access that will allow them to be agile and responsive to changes.

This will be a key shift in supply chain strategy in the coming year, according to a report released last month by IDC Manufacturing Insights titled Supply Chain Strategies Predictions for 2014: Worldwide Manufacturing: The Emergence of the 3D Value Chain. Indeed, as we have recently discussed on EBN, the value extracted from big data will lead the supply chain market to lead in revenues throughout the year 2018.

The 3rd Platform Technologies: The Four-Pillar Technologies
One of the reasons behind productivity growth in manufacturing has been the increasing adoption of information and communications (ICT) technologies. Advancing throughout 2014, manufacturers will continue to focus on inducing and supporting productivity improvements as a top priority.

This is done by the adoption of new technology trends, which IDC calls the The Four-Pillar Technologies:

  • Big data and analytics
  • Cloud
  • Mobile
  • Social collaboration tools

(Source: IDC Four Pillars)

(Source: IDC Four Pillars)

To succeed and thrive, manufacturers will begin to build “3D value chains,” according to IDC Insights. Those three D's include:

  • Demand Oriented: Business resources have to be closely and strategically aligned with customer requirements.
  • Data Driven: Sometimes applied to management productivity for making managers use data to make better decisions, which in turn makes them more effective in driving substantial increase of revenue.
  • Digitally Executed: Built on the first 2Ds

The 3D value chain
Manufacturing Insights operational resiliency is clearly dependent upon being demand aware and data driven, but it is also about digital execution, according to Simon Ellis, practice director of Global Supply Chain Strategies for IDC. Leveraging data to broaden and extend “supply chain intelligence,” he said in a recent webinar.

Source: IDC Manufacturing Insights

Source: IDC Manufacturing Insights

Modernize existing systems while also trying new approaches
Manufacturers need new ways to extract data-driven value, leveraging mobile and cloud. Both cloud technologies and mobile applications are of paramount importance in today's supply chain success. “Cloud and managed serviced support faster deployment, flexible cost structure, and broader reach to supplier/partner base,” Ellis said.

A broader adoption of cloud-based tools contributes to the modernization of the supply chain and should be an investment priority. This includes edge applications like transportation management and orchestrating capabilities such as sales and operations planning.

Let us know how you plan to improve the Four-Pillar Technologies in your organization this year. We want to hear your ideas on building a 3D value chain.

10 comments on “Building a 3D Value Supply Chain

  1. SP
    February 21, 2014

    Are there any software packages to mesaure efficiency of supply chain.    

  2. Himanshugupta
    February 21, 2014

    I do not know about software packages but there are lot of analytic tools avaliable that can help companies to reduce the cost and deliver on time. The best example is the shipping docks. There are algorithms available to maximize the space utilization and arrange containers according to their delivery schedule.

  3. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    February 22, 2014

    Supply Chain Management (SCM) software provides some of these capabilities. Here's a list of some of the leading products:

  4. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    February 22, 2014

    The ability to be both proactive and reactive (quickly flexible) is getting more and more critical. The increasing complexity of the supply chain adds to the complexity of the problem. Spreadsheets are no longer going to work–you really need to get much smarter systems to stay ahead of the game.

  5. Houngbo_Hospice
    February 22, 2014

    “A broader adoption of cloud-based tools contributes to the modernization of the supply chain and should be an investment priority”

    Small and medium businesses can use cloud-based tools to overcome the challenges they face managing their supply chain. Traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is often expensive and affordable to large companies. With more cheaper cloud-based solutions, small businesses can monitor and diagnose supply chain and operational issues as efficiently as larger companies.


  6. Susan Fourtané
    February 23, 2014


    Indeed. And that's exactly what we are going to see happening with the increasing 3D value supply chain. 


  7. Susan Fourtané
    February 23, 2014


    Cloud-based solutions have come a long way since the beginning. I still remember when some didn't believe the cloud was going to take off. See now, it's one of the tools that are about the lead great opportunities and changes in the supply chain, among so many other industries. 


  8. Himanshugupta
    February 26, 2014

    Thanks Hailey for providing the link to the leading softwares. I need to check the basic functionaly that each tool provide and will be able to figure whether better analytical approaches are possible. But IMO the basics of analytics remain the same.

  9. Susan Fourtané
    February 26, 2014


    Are you looking for a particular big data analytics tool? 


  10. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    February 28, 2014

    @Hospice, well said. Cloud services have a  variety of benefits for smaller supply chains, in that they let you pay only for what you use, they are opex rather than capex, and also can scale readily. These services also offer compellng ways for organizations to get a new capability up and running quickly–a benefit for organizations of any size.

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