The global market of today provides so many opportunities and benefits for each member in a supply chain. The flexibility, availability, and communication capability of IT and IS of is more powerful than ever before. Information can be collected, analyzed, and distributed instantaneously and organizations need to make the most of this not just internally but as far as possible in the supply chain.
As organizations are working to develop and improve their internal operations many are noticing that sharing information with their supply chain partners can take it a step further. Larger organizations often are the main customers of their smaller suppliers which makes the organization’s functions highly factorial in the supplier’s daily operation. These situations are extremely improved when communication to and from is readily available, clear and understandable, and targets needed/ useful information. Major players in the supply chain have the influence required to promote common systems for fluid information transfers up and down the supply chain. This gives faster access to updates including downtime, disruptions, and major issues in production. Integrating information systems and technology is not a simple project, but larger companies can weigh in on how their immediate suppliers communicate with them and require that the secondary and tertiary suppliers provide similar platforms in order to continue as a supplier. Larger organizations can offer to front some of the costs and effort that is required to get the systems in place in order to make it feasible for the smaller contributors (Al-Odeh, 2016).
Since the 1990s and the accelerated technology growth there has been significant advances in efficiency and problems solving in supply chains. The mindset has moved from correcting issues solely related to physical product and process improvements to finding any weak link in the supply chain itself. Organizations are now heavily invested in the whole of the pipeline and not just what is inside their respective facilities. The point of view that each node in the network ultimately affects the rest helps reassign the perspective to be more inclusive. Organizations want to know how to improve their tiered suppliers so that they themselves can operate more efficiently and proactively. In many cases organizations are looking to collect and analyze data from each of the areas that influence the other members of the supply chain. Data collection and analysis can help notice which areas of the large supply chain require the highest priority and attention for overall improvement (Handfield, 2018). These improvements are most companies’ best chance at gaining or increasing their competitive advantage. The global market is highly focused on lean, cost effective, available, and reliable. Supply chains that can work together as a coordinated group have greater leverage and capabilities than those that are only working internally. Larger businesses stand to improve significantly when they help their smaller partners to invest in correcting known issues (McAfee, 2014). These benefits are not limited to known issues only. Providing an integrated system will help companies find new ways to solve old problems, find new problems to solve, and prepare for a continually improving processes throughout the supply chain. The different members need to work together to understand what role each player has and how they can accomplish what is needed. The bigger organizations can provide the much-needed resources and initiative to start improving the IT and IS in their supply network (Pearlson, 2016).