Communications, People and Knowledge Management in Global Supply Chains: e-Collaboration for on-demand Workplace and Process Infrastructures
Prof. Dr. Guanwei HUANG, holder of the Metro Group Endowed Chair for Business Information Systems, Sino-German School for Postgraduate Studies CDHK, Tongji University Shanghai (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Prof. Dr. Ludwig NASTANSKY, Chair of Business Information Systems, GCC - Groupware Competence Center, University of Paderborn (http://gcc.upb.de); Sino-German School for Postgraduate Studies CDHK, Tongji University Shanghai
Dr. Pei WANG-NASTANSKY, Senior Researcher, GCC - Groupware Competence Center, University of Paderborn (http://gcc.upb.de)
Core issues of global supply chains are planning and deployment of supporting IT-systems, ranging from infrastructures to operative systems for running SCM-logistics. This virtual "e-SC" must provide efficient means for communications and collaboration among all people involved in their respective roles. It integrates business tasks spanning from mundane daily operations up to complex strategic knowledge management endeavors for otherwise separated entities, like organizations involved in a SC-system, projects, contracts, product descriptions, negotiated terms, schedules, delivery plans, locations, etc.. The virtual logistics of this e-SC enable and enact the physical logistics of products and services in a tightly interwoven fashion, adapting to the demands of a multicultural global environment.
The impressive built-up of globally acting Web 2.0 communities has a great impact on companies, currently benchmarking their existing IT against these new options. Thereby, the focus is on essential characteristics, like efficient self-management based on decentralized cooperation rather than central control, the apparent ease of IT-usage deriving from SOA (service oriented architectures) employed in successful Web 2.0 systems, or capabilities of effectively managing digital assets (i.e. documents, multimedia, structured data) in a globally networked manner. But, as opposed to the more lose sides of Web 2.0 infrastructures and operations, companies involved in global SCs need more control. They need features like compliance management, 7/24 service reliability, tight security, IT-vendor commitment and support, etc., for building up and maintaining their IT-systems for SCM.
The presentation focusses on state of the art e-collaboration approaches which have already proven their value-add for SCM. This the side of delivering a quality SC service portfolio as well as on the side of affordable costs in typical SCM-scenarios. IT-services for global SCM are put in the context of global knowledge management necessities for all partners working together in a SC. The currently evolving generations of new e-collaboration technologies are positioned as offering the fitting contextual approach for managing the inherent nature of perpetual changes and project characteristics identifying infrastructures and operations of global SCs. This is opposed to the existing IT system-infrastructures most companies cooperating in global SCs currently have to depend on.
Important details of innovative functions, components and tools of new e-collaboration systems for SCM are exemplified with reference to SCM-products, SCM-systems and SCM-projects the authors have been involved in. These showcases pertain to, e.g.: people management, on-demand workplace set-up, virtual organizational modelling of ever changing SCs, project and process management, document management in multilingual environments, mobile workplaces, or real-time e-collaboration in global environments.