Supply or Value chains are essentially sequential, one activity logically follows the completion of the one prior, and in streamlining the timing and handover parts of a process, you can build great efficiency.

However, great leaps in performance  will not come from incremental improvement in a sequential process, but from finding ways to complete activities in parallel, but this will require a whole different set of collaboration tools, to ensure that each parallel activity is working towards the same end point, using information that is consistent and complementary.

The exchange of information through the chain becomes absolutely essential as you move to reduce the cycle time and costs of activity sets in a chain by re-engineering the chain to progressively adopt parallel activities. Without essential information being far more freely available that is necessary in a sequential chain situation the whole exercise will be a disaster. 

Simple first steps taken to “parallel process” can offer great improvement, but more importantly, they can be an indicator of what is possible, and a precursor of the sorts of information sharing capabilities that will be necessary to capture the promised performance improvements.¬†