Jan 5, 2023
Supply Chain Management Software-as-a-Service: IBM – A Leaner, Global Supply Chain

IBM aims to practice what it preaches. The company’s early support of fully automated processes–such as order management, service requests and OEM manufacturing work orders–has served to improve customer satisfaction and operational efficiencies. And over the years the company has remained committed to continuous improvement through the intelligent application of new technologies, becoming a model for a fully automated enterprise using the most advanced supply chain solutions and practices.

IBM defines the next level of business process efficiency as an on-demand model: “An enterprise whose business processes can respond with speed to any customer demand, market opportunity or external threat.” This model requires seamless end-to-end business process integration of internal IBM systems while extending into key partners, suppliers and customers.


With one of the largest and most complex supply chains in the world, IBM spends $41 billion annually on orders for more than two billion component parts a year, working with 33,000 suppliers and 45,000 business partners.

“IBM has long focused on creating and building an integrated, end-to-end supply chain,” says Kevin O’Connell, IBM’s director of manufacturing and procurement processes. “Now we wanted to bump it up to new levels of collaboration. To achieve our on-demand goals, we needed to extend integration of business processes across a multi-tiered supply chain and into customer and partner systems as well.”

IBM realized that their in-house supply chain system was not sustainable. With their legacy system, IBM relied on suppliers’ and partners’ reports and management systems for visibility into its own supply chain. Sourcing compliance by Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers for IBM core suppliers was nothing close to real time. Instead, IBM operated in a reactionary mode, relying on EMS self-reporting and supplier end-of-quarter information.

After extended analysis, IBM determined that it needed an industry-standard supply chain management solution that allowed for synchronization of demand and supply and visibility into Tier 2 and 3 suppliers and contract manufacturers, for all IBM global manufacturing sites and divisions. The solution had to be flexible and robust enough to support changing customer demand scenarios with proactive supply/demand planning.


IBM turned to E2open to provide two Hospital IT Supplier  customer-proven supply chain management solutions:

* E2open Demand / Supply Synchronization Solution: Enables IBM to sense and respond rapidly to demand and supply changes–quickly flagging imbalances and potential shortages. These capabilities allow IBM to reach its goal of building an integrated end-to-end supply chain that responds to demand and supply changes rapidly and accurately.

* E2open Multi-tier Visibility Solution: Provides Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers with consolidated visibility into forecasts, commits, aggregate order quantities and inventory positions–so each tier of the supply chain can track supply chain execution and respond quickly to imbalances, errors and shortages. The scope and depth of this visibility is critical to high levels of supply assurance.


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