Those of you familiar with Valuechain, may remember that, last March, we secured a 3.2m euro Horizon 2020 project to develop and launch iQluster. iQluster is our aerospace supply chain collaboration and intelligence platform that allows cluster organisations to capture intelligence, while streamlining intercluster and intercompany collaboration.
But what exactly are the problems iQluster can solve?
And how can iQluster benefit you?
Well hopefully, this article can help answer some of the key questions.
Supply Chain Challenges
With the rapid advancements and developments of supply chains, cluster organisations are becoming all too familiar with the challenges facing us:
- Supply chain rationalisation,
- Threat of emerging supply chains,
- Disruptive technologies and
- The need to drive supply chain collaboration.
However, without effective supply chain intelligence, it is impossible to make informed decisions to effectively and efficiently combat these challenges.
Supply Chain Intelligence is Critical for Effective Decision Making
A great example of the need for intelligence, is the current supplier sourcing strategies executed by most businesses. Most often, supplier sourcing strategies are restricted to who you know, or who is local, because it is easier and more convenient. Very few companies have the access or the necessary tools to identify who is the best at a niche capability in Europe, and would be best to collaborate with.
But the challenges don’t stop there. The management of supplier development programmes is challenging to perform regionally, in the global environment of supply chains - let alone when this is expanded to Europe or further afield.
Further problems occur when attempting to identify where the new emerging technology opportunities are. Or which areas required informed investment and divestment strategies. Where should European, National and regional funds be invested for maximum return on jobs and GDP?
And where are the skills challenges for today and tomorrow that requires a joined-up approach with academia, industry and government?
Ultimately, it all comes down to solving one key issue:
How can ambitious, performing SMEs easily connect with new European customers?
Thankfully, we believe, that with the right, easily accessible data platform, the best option, can become the “convenient” option as well.
Supply Chain Collaboration is Critical to Capture Supply Chain Intelligence
The concept of collaboration is obvious to everyone. But making it a reality is very challenging and there are four key enablers for success.
NEED: There must be a NEED for change – a customer opportunity or threat – wither a big carrot or stick to catalyse change.
CULTURE: The partners must be open to collaborate; it must be in their behaviour and culture. It’s only when the companies are 100% behind the idea, that it will lead to better success for both themselves, and those they collaborate with.
FRAMEWORK: A standardised framework must be in place, both for commercial and operational activities. This will ensure that everyone is aware of how everything works, and how work packages are shared, and the rules of engagement with other companies.
TECHNOLOGY: A technology platform is needed that provides quality real time data, quickly, to the right people and at the right time. This will allow companies to make informed, strategic decisions about who to collaborate with, when and what on; ensuring that all parties will maximise their benefits.
This is why we have developed iQluster and why we have received H2020 funding to make a difference.
iQluster: Building World Class Supply Chains
With these four enablers in place, it is possible to drive successful collaboration and increase overall supply chain competitiveness.
Supply chain collaboration can be about a number of things:
- Improving the performance of existing multi-tier supply chains,
- Creating new extended enterprises,
- Buying groups or industry clusters (whereby companies can collaborate with other cluster members)
The major challenge to drive collaboration is how to engage with companies so that they generate tangible benefits quickly, with minimal effort and risk.
Our approach has been to develop an ecosystem of smart manufacturing software so that there is something for everyone:
- Micro SMEs needing production control systems,
- SMEs requiring robust NPI processes or streamlined FAIR processes,
- Medium sized enterprises that need business intelligence solutions or vendor management inventory; and
- Primes that require supply chain mapping and intelligence solutions.
We offer freemium solutions so that all of your members can benefit from free software. But more importantly than that is that we can offer business and supply chain intelligence for your members. If they are willing to share some data, they can benefit from benchmarking data and significant supply chain intelligence that can help them find new customers, new partners and better suppliers.
However, the future is only possible if everyone buys, and commits to building a collaborative ecosystem that benefits everyone.
If you’re interested in getting involved, or simply learning more about iQluster, please contact us, or call 03301 200050, and a member of our team will be in touch.
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