One of the key barriers to supply chain optimization is the breakdown in communication between operators, suppliers, and distributors. Collaborative communication was identified as the top challenge to supply optimization in the survey conducted with the Supply Chain Optimization (SCO) Development Board participants prior to the start of our work. In early Board discussions, many organizations identified that they were only communicating important information to one partner and not sharing that useful information to the other (e.g. operator sharing LTO planning information with supplier but not distributor).
The Board quickly decided that a framework was needed to help facilitate communication between all three partners. They developed the Communication Map that defines over 70 communication flows between partners. Within the Communication Map is helpful information on which functions commonly provided the information, which function commonly use the information and what is the most common timing on which the information is communicated. Additionally, the Board identified 9 data flows that are most critical to enabling supply chain optimization.