Supply chains consist of the ongoing flow of products from source to end point consumption with many potential network types, storage locations and transport routings to support distibution of these products. The operative word in this discussion is products as they really are the key component and represent the base building blocks which make up any supply chain.
In order to effectively manage products within the supply chain requires that the systems used for Supply Chain Management have accurate product information in them. And taking this a step further, in order to manage on a wider, total supply chain basis where now multiple companies are involved requires that all parties are using this same accurate information on the products they are managing.
This may sound like a simple thing to the lay person, but ask anyone who has had the onerous task of matching receipts at one company, when the supplying company uses different terminology, different product numbers, styles and units of measure. Not only can this be a huge job, it also can lead to many variances, under charging, over charging and other system and inventory errors. Electronic Catalogues are the solution to this where significant effort and appropriate databases and connectivity are applied to getting the base product data cleansed, synchronized and up to date, and having all supply chain parties working from this same source of clean product data.
A number of initiatives are underway in the Electronic Catalogue space and you can learn more about the SCN Data Synchronization approach to GDSN and Electronic Catalogues as a quality starting point for investigating the role of Electronic Catalogues as the foundation for Supply Chain Management.
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