With the breakneck speed of global trade — and disruptions such as the pandemic — no one has the luxury of going it alone in the supply chain. In fact, more than ever, companies need to collaborate and share data via open networks.
“The open network, it’s a flywheel. That flywheel is really starting to spin fast,” said Jett McCandless, founder and CEO of project44, a Chicago-based supply chain visibility provider.
McCandless discussed the importance of open networks in global supply chains with Paige Cox, senior vice president and head of Supply Chain Networks at SAP, during a virtual fireside chat at American Shipper’s first-ever Global Trade Tech Summit on Wednesday.
“In a true open network, both sides need to see value. They need to find that neutral ground,” Cox said.
Germany-based SAP, a global enterprise software company, and project44 have been in a partnership since 2019 to improve visibility for shippers in the supply chain. McCandless and Cox stressed the importance of data sharing and collaboration.
“We need a new way to get access to that data, to get that visibility, so we can really steer our entire supply chain,” Cox said. “Not just my own supply chain. Not anymore.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as the latest disruption impacting global supply chains. It also has revealed the value and necessity of companies being nimble and agile.
“We’ve seen pharmaceutical companies that have traditionally only shipped via air freight, when there was a shortage of air freight, have to switch to ocean,” McCandless said. “This created this new dynamic they needed: this visibility to be able switch from mode to mode, geography to geography, to supplier.”