Saturday, December 16, 2017 | ISSN 0719-241X

The digital value behind logistic efficiency

Supply chain managers and solutions providers analyse regional industry
Edition of August 07, 2017

In Latin America –as well as the rest of the world-, coordinating and tracking the transport of mining ore, grains, consumer goods, food, retail, beauty, pharmaceuticals and chemical products – among others- can be quite a challenge. But thanks to new technological applications all that information can now be stored and managed through a digital cloud, a repository of data that can cross facts in several ways to make sure the cargo gets to where it needs to be on the back of an optimized process. 

Supply Chain 2017 

Adding value to the supply chain process is essential to the maritime transport business, especially in today’s dynamic context. SAP Ariba does exactly that by storing and processing large amounts of data for a more efficient operation. The Supply Chain 2017 conference, held in Santiago, Chile, focused precisely on the different challenges the logistics area currently faces, and gathered all the key players for a holistic view and exchange of ideas on how to optimize operations. 

Logistics platform SAP and digital solutions Ariba joined forces in 2012 to create SAP Ariba, a cloud-based network solutions provider for buyers and suppliers. “Basically, SAP Ariba is a tool we sell to buyers (…) we’re the link out between suppliers and buyers, connecting them,” said Keith Baranowski, Global Vice President and General Manager SAP Ariba for Direct in an exclusive interview with MundoMaritimo, during his attendance at the Supply Chain 2017 seminar. 

This event was very well staffed with senior level executives from our customers and well-focused on the supply chain. In the last 5 years there hasn’t been much innovation on the supply chain and procurement areas. Last innovation came in late 1990’s, early 2000’s, but now we’re seeing new innovations. The problems themselves have not changed much in 20 years, but the approaches that we take are now being challenged by new innovations and new ways to solve problems,” he added. 

From the cloud to the ground 

SAP is a company with 40 years of experience in the supply chain and procurement area. SAP is so much more than a ‘glorified spreadsheet’, having basically created an entire universe of logistics traceability: over 70% of global GDP passes through a SAP system. Ariba is a pioneer in cloud information repository, having developed a digital platform focused on operation expenses. “By joining forces and combining our DNA, SAP Ariba is now a logistics super-tool that is able to trace the entire procurement and supply chain process all the way from the shipper that needs to deliver cargo to the client who receives it halfway around the world,” highlights the executive. 

The maritime supply chain is complex, as it involves close coordination between many parties, which constitutes the essence of multimodal transportation. Baranowski emphasizes that transportation optimization planning solutions are at the core of SAP Ariba’s business, looking to provide practical uses of data for in-depth insight that will make the entire logistics process smoother. SAP Ariba’s added value for the maritime business is “making cargo transportation traceable and making sure the integrity of the container and its cargo are not breached in the transportation process”, says Baranowski. 

Young talent 

SAP Ariba is determined to bring the ‘sex appeal’ back into the supply chain and procurement process again. Under the “#makeprocurementawesome” slogan, the digital solutions company is focusing on attracting younger talent into the procurement area, pulling people right put of college and placing them into intensive training for one year under the teachings of highly experienced SAP executives. Baranowski says that “once they graduate from the program they’re placed in customer facing positions (field). We’re focused on giving them the skills and the opportunity to work in an exciting field with high-end technology.” 

The ability to anticipate client’s needs is crucial for corporate survival and exponential growth. That is the major challenge next generation’s supply chain managers will have to face, mitigating the effects of the industry’s volatile changes and implementing strategies that go beyond contingencies and local problems. The future of the supply chain lies in the overall vision and the inclusion of technology. “It’s casting a wider net, but we make the process work better,” concludes Baranowski. 

By MundoMaritimo

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