UPS views the cloud as a "critical" aspect of its business, says Boike. The technology enables collaboration communication among multiple providers across different locations and time zones.
The cloud can serve as a replacement for a single platform unifying all partners, an idea that might seem attractive but could prove unfeasible in global supply chains. The benefits become multiplied, Boike says, because of users' ability to communicate directly, then obtain audit trails and market records of what actually happened.
The cloud makes possible the long-time dream of true collaboration. In the past, says Boike, the supporting technology simply didn't exist. "Every client was a new invention of itself. Everyone got completely customized. Now there's a level playing field."
Whether current cloud technology is the ultimate answer is uncertain. Nevertheless, says Boike, "what we have in front of us today is definitely best in class." The new tools are easier to implement and bring clients up to full operating efficiency.
What can be in the cloud? "It's unlimited," claims Boike, citing key business processes such as sourcing, raw materials acquisition, production, finance and compliance. The sole limiting factor at the moment is a lack of well-established industry standards. "We have to change the way we do business," he says. Oddly, he notes, some companies with the highest level of technology are the last to adapt.
For the future, says Boike, "there has to be more development. Right now we want to get every single aspect of a client, from beginning to end, into a cloud-based technology."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, cloud supply chain, global logistics, supply management, supply chain collaboration, sourcing solutions, supply chain risk management
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