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6-7IM Supply Chain Management: A Logistics Perspective
Supply Chain Technology—Managing Information FlowsInstructor’s Manual Chapter 6XML is a robust, logically verifiable text format based on international standards that provides a flexible way to create structured, common information formats and share both the format and the data via the Internet, intranets, and other networks.Application Integration. Standardized and common format are important and it is also imperative that different tools seamlessly share the data and supply chain partners often rely on different vendors, applications, or software versions. A problem with this is that these applications tend to present data differently, making communication between them difficult. Extensive efforts have been made over the last 10 years to improve application integration and foster supply chain information synchronization with initial work focusedon the development of application programming interfaces (API) link SCIS with supplier and customer applications.The focus has shifted toward adapter sets and a newer technology model called service-oriented architecture (SOA). A service is defined as a unit of work to be performed on behalf of some computing entity, such as a human user or another program. SOA defines how two computing entities interact in such a way as to enable one entity to perform a unit of work on behalf of another entity. Supply chain technology buyers must assess and compare integration methods, and then choose those that best fit current needs while providing the flexibility to meet future functionality requirements, monitoring the development of SOA and its impact on the software applications landscape.Asking the Right Questions Senior management plays a key role in facilitating the implementation of supply chain Technology providing vision, the required resources, and an unshakable commitment to SCIS initiatives.Some of these key questions include the following:• Who will lead our implementation effort? Senior management has neither the time nor direct knowledge of SCIS to supervise the selection and installation of new applications.• How will technology support our business needs and processes? There is a propensity to adopt software without considering the processes that it will support, leading to automation of inefficiencies. • What is the status of our existing data? It is critical to assess data quality, relevance, andcompleteness to ensure that the needed information is available to use with the technology being considered. • How well does our existing system integrate with suppliers and customers? SCIS fall woefully short on vital capabilities if they are unable to communicate with supply chain partners in an efficient manner.