Setting the SCM Standards Free

Over the last seven years we have seen unprecedented progress in the viable development of new SCM technologies such as EPC RFID, Electronic Catalogues (GDSN) and the SCM standards which support them on a global basis. These supporting SCM standards referred to are GRAI (Global Returnable Asset Identifier) and GLN (Global Location Numbering) which are both also critical pieces for completing the supply chain puzzle.

Unfortunately since that time adoption, implementation and widespread use of these technologies and standards have not followed as quickly as many would have liked and in many industries there is a significant level of frustration with this inertia and lack of solid implementation progress.

The obvious question then becomes why is this happening, or not happening depending on your point of view? The answer to this is not simple, but in my mind it is a combination of complexity, high cost, capabilities and control that has been hampering this growth and widespread standards implementation.

The secret for setting these SCM standards free is to develop a model which addresses all four of the above negative forces resulting in a business environment which will support the rapid and widespread growth of these new SCM standards and technologies. Let’s review these negative forces and discuss some potential solutions and approaches to counteracting them to foster adoption and growth.

Cutting Through Complexity

Although the myriad details behind the unified application of these technologies and standards is somewhat complex, there is the potential of developing and delivering simplified education programs to educate non-technical business managers and leaders on the integrated vision and joint use of these technologies and standards.

By educating and mobilizing these mid and senior level individuals to drive the investment and commitment of the firm and leaving the complex technical details to those best equipped to deal with them, progress can then be made. Getting bogged down in an industry based on lack of vision, understanding can be easy to do in such cases but by simplifying and focussing on results this complexity can be tamed.

High Costs

Many of those personally committed and passionate about implementing these SCM technologies and standards don’t understand why the associated program memberships, registration numbers and onboarding/consulting fees need to be so high. Even more disconcerting for these individuals and their firms is paying these high fees for in some cases up to seven years and still not having proportionate success to show for it.

For the new SCM standards and related technologies such as RFID and Electronic Catalogues (GDSN) to takeoff requires critical mass widespread adoption, acceptance and proper use within an industry vertical. And although the pioneering companies and individuals in these industries are willing to pay high costs to get these initiatives started, the majority of companies will not or in some cases cannot allocate exhorbitant amounts to such endeavours.

In many ways, these SCM standards and technologies are like the first VCRS, they started out very complicated and expensive, but market adoption and sales exploded once the units were simplified and the cost came down.

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