4 FAQs About Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks


Gartner recently released the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks (MESCBN). According to Gartner, “MESCBNs are an essential technology component to a successful digital transformation.”

While this is undoubtedly true, businesses rarely say “I need a MESCBN solution.” Instead, they address pain points, such as a lack of visibility or inability to swiftly resolve exceptions. They then turn to popular supply chain software and systems options, such as a Control Tower or TMS to address those limitations.

There is a better way to approach digital transformations, and it begins by understanding the relationship between the supply chain technology you choose and the complex business networks they ultimately serve.


  1. How do MESCBNs relate to digital transformations?

Companies today are part of a greater business ecosystem: Supply chain planning and execution involves multi-party collaboration between suppliers, carriers, manufacturers, warehouses, and many others. Yet, too many solutions focus on narrow segments of the supply chain, which IDC Research Manager Jordan K. Speer, explains as “maximization of a part versus optimization of the whole.”

The value chain makes up about 80% of external network activities for many companies, so a too-narrow focus on enterprise systems puts businesses at a disadvantage. Business networks can offer extraordinary, untapped potential for improving order fulfilment, boosting customer service, lowering inventory levels, reducing transportation costs, and lessening working capital.

Per Gartner Supply Chain Brief: The CSCO Perspective on Supply Chain Business Networks: “Executives must understand that their company needs to operate within such networks to stay competitive — in other words, minimize risk, increase efficiency, reduce cost and capitalize on opportunities. CSCOs leading such a digital transformation initiative must familiarize themselves with MESCBNs to effectively communicate the value to the C-Suite.”

Technology is evolving to provide more sophisticated capabilities, such as real-time end-to-end visibility, integrated and intelligent workflows, and insight into how previously isolated areas of the supply chain affect one another. Successful digital transformations look beyond solving individual pain points and consider holistic technologies that will improve their business ecosystem wholesale.


  1. Can MESCBN technology help you stay resilient and agile in times of disruption?

With the right supply chain technology, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” As supply chain expert, Bryce Boothby explains, COVID-19 “has supply chains scrambling for business network alternatives” because too many companies neglected to adopt a flexible – and therefore resilient – platform that would allow them to deploy a “Plan B.”

Successfully dealing with uncertainty and disruption requires not just leveraging your network, but dynamically networking. A Supply Chain Orchestration platform is configurable, so it allows businesses to seamlessly switch between existing partners, or else easily onboard new ones. That way, as circumstances change and current partnerships become less than ideal, you can seamlessly adapt to choose the best possible option for that moment.


  1. What are the key functions of a Supply Chain Orchestration Platform?

For a supply chain technology to truly leverage the multi-party network as a whole, it must

enable systems unification; in-app, network-wide collaboration; and intelligent and automated process convergence.

Systems unification – Unless disparate systems are all joined through a single, unified platform, your network will operate in silos, which leads to errors and delays.

Intelligent, network-wide collaboration – Collaboration must extend across the entire ecosystem, including suppliers, contract manufacturers, VMI specialists, 3PLs, and warehouses. Supply Chain Orchestration must also offer real-time alerts, status monitoring, and in-app exceptions management.

Intelligent and automated process convergence – All network flows, processes, and functions must be viewed and treated as part of a greater business ecosystem. Therefore, visibility and control should span all order types, as well as all upstream, downstream and reverse flows. For efficiency and optimization, all converged flows should be further governed by intelligent automation.


  1. What makes MPO’s Supply Chain Orchestration Platform a Visionary one?

MPO offers the world’s only natively unified cloud platform for Supply Chain Orchestration. Uniquely customer- and order-centric, it is the only platform able to optimize each and every customer order of any type, offering a kind of tailored “micro supply chain” for every customer order.

The MPO platform is truly an end-to-end solution, as it converges all orders and processes, providing both granular visibility into inbound, outbound, interplant, returns, repairs, and rebalance flows, as well as holistic insight into how they all affect one another. The combination of holistic and granular oversight makes it easy to balance operational excellence (on-time, in-full commitments, stock levels, costs) with superior customer service levels.

Regarding multi-enterprise supply chain business networks, companies can both dynamically choose the best partnerships for any given circumstance, as well as make highly informed and strategic decisions that consistently benefit all partnerships across the end-to-end supply chain.