What Exactly Is a "Platform?"

November 27, 2018 Karli Langner

The Rise of the Platform

Digitalization is a major epidemic sweeping across supply chains in many different industries. As supply chains become more digital, they benefit from the “platform” business model. Platforms are sets of common digital technology-powered processes, tools, and approaches that allow users to create value by adding products and services that work together in synergistic ways.

Platforms provide users with a set of standardized tools and processes and allow users to create and harness mutually beneficial collaborations amongst each other.

What Kind of Platform?

Two types of platforms are emerging in future supply chains – informational supply chain platforms and physical supply chain platforms.

Informational supply chain platforms are foundational sets of processes and technologies that promote supply chain sharing and coordination. This platform unlocks visibility in the supply chain by sharing information about material availability, order fulfillment, and delivery.

A physical supply chain platform is a foundational set of digital-enabled physical assets and technologies that companies leverage to enable breakthrough physical product handling and flow performance.

The supply chain has stepped in to the collaborative platform era: an era that connects different stakeholders, these different platforms, and applications mobilized throughout the distribution chain to create smooth-running operations, and physical and information flows.

Stop. Collaborate. And Increase Efficiency. 

Today, collaboration is an essential step in the digital transformation of your company and has become vital if you expect to compete with increasingly more dynamic and connected competitors. Through this transformation, we can no longer work separate from our collaborators. Instead, we must create a real convergence by merging the processes with increased productivity, agility, efficiency and a new customer experience in mind.

As digital technologies embed themselves across supply chains, they will inevitably rewire existing business models into industry platforms. The question is not “if” or “when”, but how best to anticipate and get ahead of supply chain platform disruptions. Now that you understand some of the lingo, you’re better equipped to prepare yourself for the process changes in the horizon.

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