FMI Event Recap

Image: Vendor Collaboration Process


In the past several years, the challenges with vendor and retailer supply chain collaboration have been rising steadily. According to a Supply Chain Digest Survey, 53% of vendors rated themselves above average or near the top in terms of supply chain collaboration, while 39% of the retailers thought themselves to be above average. Additionally, with regards to supply chain collaboration, 90% of Vendors rated their company below the top, while 100% of Retailers rated their company below the top.


The key take away from the survey is that both vendors and retailers agree that collaboration with each other is the single biggest obstacle in establishing an effective supply chain.

This is the result of relying on the ‘Traditional Collaboration – Item Introduction’ network to exchange data. Such frameworks utilize multiple data entry points and a significant amount of paper activity and communication exchange through email.


When creating a solution for supply chain collaboration, it is critical to consider the following success factors:

  • Prioritizing based on ROI

  • Build vs. Buy

  • Usability/Mass data management features

  • Integrating with ERP and external systems

  • Vendor introduction and support

  • Security requirements

Workflow driven collaboration possesses several characteristics that make it a viable alternative to “Traditional Collaboration – Item Introduction.” This supply chain collaboration model possesses the following features:

  • Allows the measurement of the quality of data

  • Calculates ROI using productivity improvements,

  • Increases speed to market for item introduction

  • Provides automation of transitions between single process activities

The benefits of employing the Workflow driven collaboration model include the following:

  • Reduction of human errors

  • A fewer number of transcript errors

  • Enhanced productivity by getting rid of unnecessary paperwork

  • Vendor accountability

  • Downstream benefits


If you are facing challenges with efficient collaboration between your company’s vendors and retailers, you might want to check out Simplain. Sanjaye Elayattu, Founder and President of Simplain, recently gave a tech talk at the FMI’s 2020 Midwinter Executive Conference held in Phoenix, AZ, where he addressed issues with supply chain collaboration and how he envisions effective solutions to benefit organizations in more ways than one.


Simplain had the opportunity to interact with several CXOs and Senior Executives of retailers collectively and in one-on-one meetings. One crucial point stood out amongst all the others discussed. No matter which ERP/MDM system they have, whether developed in-house or bought out, the Vendor collaboration, product data quality and the speed of item introduction is still a challenge. They strongly feel that this is the critical area that any initiative for reducing operational cost and the digital transformation should begin with.


Looking back at the FMI conference, we enjoyed our experience there and the opportunity to meet with great industry leaders, experts, and other representatives. We look forward to continuing the talks we began in Phoenix and to grow these relationships for the future.




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