Challenges to Supply Chain Integration

The last decade has brought a dramatic shift in the nature of competition for most companies. Technological advances, particularly in information technology, coupled with globalization, the rise of complexity and shrinking time horizons are driving order-of-magnitude changes in the competitive demands on strategic management of business and on the management of supply chains.

These competitive pressures have a strong direct effect on supply chain strategy and integration. Integrating activities both within and beyond organizational boundaries has become and will continue to be a major challenge for supply chain executives. Integration efforts now extend beyond traditional product-process design and functional integration to focus on extra-organizational links with customers and suppliers. The object is to produce “supply chain-enhanced” products and services.


Key Challenges

Well integrated supply chains are not ubiquitous at this time. There are certainly many success stories and many pockets of excellent supply chain integration. There are also many cases of failures and breakdowns in integration. We have identified 14 key challenges organizations must meet to achieve true supply chain integration.

  1. Establish a vision of how financial and non-financial results will improve with supply chain integration.
  2. Develop people, culture and an organization that supports the supply chain vision.
  3. Develop customer-centric metrics.
  4. Develop multiple supply chains to meet the needs of different customer and market segments.
  5. Establish the correct positioning of work on a global basis.
  6. Incorporate supply chain consideration into product and service design decisions.
  7. Maintain sourcing as a first-level priority.
  8. Stay focused and consistent in relationships with customers and suppliers.
  9. Create an effective Sales and Operations process.
  10. Develop valid and reliable databases, data and information.
  11. Develop the capabilities and analytic tools required to make effective decisions in an increasingly complex and risky environment.
  12. Build trust within and across organizations in the supply chain.
  13. Find ways to share risk equitably among supply chain partners.
  14. Find ways to share rewards equitably among supply chain partners.



In short, supply chain integration, is the degree to which an organization strategically collaborates with its supply chain partners and collaboratively manages intra and inter-organizational processes, in order to achieve effective and efficient flows of products and services, information, money and decisions, to provide maximum value to the customer.

It does not contain all of the challenges to integrate your supply chains or even a comprehensive approach for doing so. You can find strategies and good practices developed by our focus companies to meet these challenges and to push ahead in integrating supply chains.


RMS Consulting is a team of experienced technical and business professionals whose single aim is to deliver the world’s best retail management systems. We understand the needs and deliver cloud-based, multi-channel retail management system that brings together POS, eCommerce, CRM and marketing, merchandising and order management, financials, and warehouse management into a single centrally managed solution. RMS Consulting serves client inside North America specifically USA and Canada while physically serving clients in the cities of Seattle, Toronto, Buffalo, Ottawa, Monreal, London, Kitchener, Windsor, Detroit. Feel free to contact us or Drop us a note for any help or assistance.



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