Integration snags: U.K. lags in European supply chain for achieving "Perfect Order"

A recent report from Sterling Commerce, which surveyed more than 300 European IT managers, indicates nine out of 10 European retail and manufacturing businesses are struggling to automate the order-to-fulfillment cycle as a result of major application integration challenges.


Sterling Commerce recently released results of a survey of European IT managers.
According to that report, nine out of 10 European retail and manufacturing businesses are struggling to automate the order-to-fulfillment cycle as a result of major application integration challenges. As a consequence, process gaps are preventing 72 percent of companies from adding new sales channels to target growth market opportunities.
More than 300 IT managers in the U.K., France, and Germany were questioned for the report. Results reveal that U.K. businesses have the lowest levels of application integration across Europe, with 20 percent not integrated at all. As many as one in five U.K. respondents admitted to gaining no competitive advantage at all from their IT systems.
The survey also found that despite operating fewer supply chain management applications than their European counterparts, 57 percent of U.K.-based IT managers say they lack a consolidated view of data across their supply chains, compared with 14 percent in France and 33 percent in Germany. In turn, 50 percent of U.K.-based IT managers feel confident they could track orders in real time—a key requirement of efficient order-to-fulfillment—compared to 64 percent of French respondents, and 63 percent of German respondents.
Says David Hogg, a CPG solutions manager for EMEA at Sterling Commerce, "As the pace of today's business environment continues to intensify, businesses are coming under increased pressure to effectively meet customer requirements for greater access to order information across multiple channels and, more important, for orders to be fulfilled on promise, whether in the business or consumer domain. These results strongly suggest that U.K. businesses are facing a dual challenge, not only is poor integration having an impact on internal efficiency, but actually adversely impacting their ability to respond quickly to changing market demands, such as profitably launching a new sales channel or onboarding new trading partners."
The survey findings were unveiled concurrently with the U.K. launch of the Sterling Selling and Fulfilment Suite , a comprehensive solution for managing the entire inquiry-to-cash cycle.

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