Should e-commerce sites be collaborating with their competitors?
I’ve been reading an interesting report today by supply chain and logistics company DHL (it’s embedded below). The report looks at the need for ecommerce companies to collaborate with partners on supply chain issues. They recommend these partners to include logistics providers, intermediaries and even other retailers.
The collaboration they talk about is not just confined to the usual innovation related topics, but on sharing warehousing space or transport networks. They cite the example of French retailer Carrefour sharing warehousing space with other retailers.
Central to this collaborative intent has been the growth of cloud computing and the social technologies that sit on top of it. Toyota for instance links up with its suppliers electronically, sharing key information that allows Toyota to better coordinate its manufacturing schedule.
Even here there are challenges to confront. Simply having the technology to facilitate collaboration won’t be enough on its own. The willingness among all players to make it happen has to be strong, too. E-Commerce is still in its infancy but, to be successful in its future, companies will require a community of spirit – and a new way of thinking.
It’s an interesting report, and well worth a read.