Measuring forecast accuracy and supplier performance is still a hit-or-miss proposition. Supply chains are growing increasingly complex, from linear arrangements to synchronized, multi-echelon, outward-facing networks of distributed servers. There's much more information that needs to be monitored than there was just a few years ago. Most companies lack the tools that can quickly sift through and present data coming from supply chain partners and systems.

Gartner, Inc., a leading IT consultancy, estimates that less than one percent of companies today are actually capable of monitoring and measuring online supplier performance. A study conducted by the University of Texas for Dell Computer Corp. found that only 11 percent of 1,000 companies studied have any form of online transactional and information-sharing capabilities with their suppliers. Building an information sharing and analysis capability will be critical to sustaining critical competitive advantage over the next few years.

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