In an ever-changing global landscape, businesses must be prepared to navigate shifts and changes while keeping their operations running smoothly. Recent years have seen a series of events that have underscored the critical importance of resilient supply chains. Rather than being caught off guard by these challenges, companies need to equip themselves with the right tools and strategies to not only adapt but thrive in uncertain times. Collaboration within a business network has emerged as a key solution for addressing these challenges and increasing resilience.

Supply chain resiliency has become a critical factor for businesses across industries. According to a recent IDC white paper, sponsored by SAP, titled “Enabling an Adaptive Supply Chain: Multi-Enterprise Business Networks and Supplier Collaboration,”* companies must develop a new level of resilience in their supply chains. This involves adapting operating models and gaining a true end-to-end understanding of supply chains. Outdated approaches to communicating and transacting with trading partners lead to issues related to visibility, compliance, and efficiency. SAP Business Network can provide a modern approach to digitally connecting people, processes, and systems with trading partners, revolutionizing supply chain collaboration. It can enable companies to adapt to changes more quickly and easily, ultimately helping them to meet customer expectations and comply with regulations.

SAP Business Network: A Solution for Visibility, Efficiency, and Compliance

In today’s complex business landscape, companies face numerous challenges that impede visibility, efficiency, and compliance. Outdated tools, siloed systems, and point-to-point connections often result in broken connections and fragmented insights into the supply chain. Collaborating with contract manufacturers or subcontractors becomes difficult, and identifying new or alternate sources of supply quickly is a challenge. Moreover, complying with new or existing regulations can be a daunting task.

To address these challenges, SAP Business Network offers a solution that can enable companies to overcome these obstacles and achieve their goals. It can provide a range of capabilities to help enhance visibility, efficiency, and compliance across the supply chain, and helps them be more resilient.

The largest and most comprehensive business network, trusted by millions of companies around the world

One of the key features of SAP Business Network is its ability to enable digital document and data exchange with trading partners based on automated business rules. This includes the seamless routing of various line of business documents, such as invoices and orders, as well as shipping confirmations, work orders, and quality notifications. By automating business rules and supporting multi-party scenarios, such as working with contract manufacturers or subcontractors, the network can improve efficiency and streamline processes as well as help ensure compliance with regulations. Additionally, SAP Business Network can support onboarding and system-to-system integration, helping to ensure seamless connectivity with various communication standards like EDI, cXML, and Peppol. It also offers interoperability with third-party systems and networks, working to further enhance the connectivity and integration capabilities.

The network can also provide intuitive dashboards and apps that can offer visibility into the status of orders and shipments. This helps companies track and trace batches and serial numbers, facilitating the resolution of quality issues in products when they occur. By leveraging these dashboards and apps, businesses can proactively manage their operations, improve decision-making, and enhance overall efficiency.

Furthermore, SAP Business Network includes a trading partner directory that allows suppliers to create and manage company profiles. These profiles can be viewed by buying companies, providing them with valuable insights into potential suppliers. The directory also incorporates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings from EcoVadis, enabling buying companies to choose suppliers aligned with their sustainability goals. Additionally, the trading partner directory enables buyers to search for suppliers, facilitating the identification of new or alternate sources of supply. This capability can not only enhance supply chain resilience but can also present opportunities for cost savings, diversification, and innovation.

According to a recent IDC MarketScape report, SAP is recognized as a leader in the worldwide multi-enterprise supply chain commerce network market.** The scale and reach of the network, with annual commerce reaching US$5.3 trillion and 746 million B2B transactions in 2023, make it a valuable tool for helping expand supplier bases and enter new markets.

Supply Chain Collaboration in Action

SAP Business Network is trusted by millions of companies across 190 countries. One of these companies is Vestas, a leading wind turbine manufacturer. Vestas has implemented SAP Business Network and SAP Ariba solutions to address quality control issues and streamline its complex global supply chain. With over 10,000 individual parts sourced from suppliers worldwide, Vestas relies on the B2B platform of SAP Business Network to collaborate with suppliers, track orders, and ensure quality standards are met. The network allows Vestas to conduct quality tests, document them, and take corrective action if needed. It also provides transparency and an audit trail in case of quality defects or incidents. By leveraging SAP solutions, Vestas has improved supply chain efficiency, reduced friction losses, and advanced its sustainability goals.

Another customer that has benefited from SAP Business Network is Richemont, a global luxury goods company. Richemont has utilized the network to establish seamless collaboration with suppliers and partners, streamlining its supply chain operations. By leveraging real-time data exchange and visibility provided by SAP Business Network, Richemont has been able to proactively manage inventory, optimize production planning, and respond swiftly to market demands. This has significantly enhanced the company’s supply chain resilience and enabled it to deliver exceptional luxury products to customers with efficiency and agility.

These success stories highlight the power of collaboration and technology in building resilient supply chains. SAP Business Network can provide the platform for companies to connect, collaborate, and exchange critical data, enabling them to navigate disruptions with resilience.

Leveraging Technology to Strengthen Your Supply Chain

In a world where disruptions are expected and circumstances tend to change, building resilience in supply chains is crucial for the success of businesses. The ability to adapt and thrive in the face of uncertainty requires collaboration, transparency, and efficiency. SAP Business Network offers a comprehensive solution that can enable companies to achieve these goals.

*Source: IDC White Paper, sponsored by SAP, “Enabling an Adaptive Supply Chain: Multi-Enterprise Business Networks and Supplier Collaboration,” #US51374823, November 2023.
**Source: “IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Multi-Enterprise Supply Chain Commerce Network 2023 Vendor Assessment,” #US49948423, December 2023.

Tony Harris is SVP and chief marketing and solutions officer of SAP Business Network.

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