World-class companies integrate innovative Internet software to reduce excess inventory and speed product delivery, according to a new study from research and consulting firm Best Practices, LLC. This research profiles cutting-edge supply chain management practices employed by leading manufacturing organizations. "Supply Chain Management Best Practices" is available at:

This study reveals how companies use Internet software programs to monitor remote factory operations and resolve problems in real time. For example:

  • One high-technology firm utilizes a real-time diagnostic system that reduced down time by allowing engineers to troubleshoot problems.
  • A leading manufacturing company integrated supply chain software allowing more efficiency in tracking inventory and anticipating surges in demand. Drawn from executive interviews and surveys with more than 100 companies, "Supply Chain Management Best Practices," includes industry-leading supply chain management practices and performance metrics. These include:
  • Delivery Performance Metrics, including on-time delivery, performance to commit, fill rate and return rates.
  • Cycle Time Metrics, including promised lead time, actual lead time and supply chain cycle time.
  • Inventory and Cash Management Metrics, including inventory days of supply, days sales outstanding, days payables outstanding and cash-to-cash conversion.
  • Supply Chain Cost Metrics, including overall supply chain costs, order management costs, inventory carrying costs, supply chain finance and planning costs, supply chain IT costs and procurement department staffing costs.

"Each of the top companies we studied showed an uncanny knack for performing exceedingly well across over 20 dimensions of supply chain performance," said Keith Symmers, vice president at Best Practices, LLC. "The common denominators were extensive employment of performance initiatives (VMI, BTO, etc.) and sophisticated use of Internet and other communication tools to streamline the material and information flow and performance across the entire supply chain - from vendors to customers."

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