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The shift to growth-oriented initiatives is causing companies to reach outside the enterprise to collaborate with others in the supply ecosystem. This multi-enterprise collaboration (MEC) is the technique by which organizations are able to progress along the path toward visible business. Its components involve the availability, analysis, and application of information to generate worth. In Parts III-VII we provided examples of MEC in action in the supply chain. In the last article, we turned our attention to the challenges of making MEC a reality for your organization. And, in this edition, we look at how a MEC solution can most efficiently handle these complexities.


We’ve established that every MEC initiative has three aspects to it: (1) making information available, (2) analyzing it to identify worth-generating actionable conditions, and (3) triggering and performing those actions. But frankly, that can be said for the use of any piece of technology.

Even something as simple as a fire alarm relies on the three A’s of information availability, analysis, and action to effectively fulfill its role. As air particles are made available to the alarm, it analyzes those particles looking for evidence of smoke or fire (i.e., actionable conditions). When such conditions are detected, it produces the appropriate alarm to trigger the reaction of the structure’s inhabitants to act upon that warning and escape the potential danger.

But, multi-enterprise collaboration carries with it an additional complication—over and above the three A’s—that must be addressed to succeed at MEC. Specifically, collaboration requires more than one entity (i.e., you can not collaborate with yourself). Whether those multiple entities are all within your company (e.g., across work units, departments, divisions, or autonomous companies within a conglomerate) or within your external supply chain or other business ecosystem, collaboration requires that you overcome one additional significant challenge, community.

As we pointed out in prior articles in this series, the variations you will encounter within your MEC community will be many. The different organization sizes and types with which you’ll need/want to collaborate will influence how you’ll go about doing so. Different systems, capabilities, processes, procedures, policies, preferences, requirements, etc. will make it nearly impossible to interact with all of the partners in your supply ecosystem in the same way.


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