Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen, during a webinar organized by Accept Software, to Don Tapscott speaking about Innovation and how Web 2.0 was affecting the way companies innovated. In particular, he highlighted how the arrival of the younger generation would fundamentally change the behaviour of organizations.
I was thinking about how the use of the same tools could help collaboration in global supply chains. Indeed, it is my strong believe that, to effectively collaborate globally, one needs a number of tools and mechanisms. Some of those will allow an assynchronous collaboration (data exchange, e-mail, voicemail), while others are focused around a synchronous one (chat, teleconference, videoconference, telepresence). Different tools align with different processes. For example, updating a partner on a forecast can easily be done by sharing a file or sending an e-mail. On the other hand, resolving a production problem requires a very different type of interaction. And one may want to go as far as using telepresence or actually physical presence to address the problem.
I am not aware of anybody having studied the connection between supply chain business problems and communication means. It would really be an interesting research, and maybe something we could do together if you are interested. And guess what, we should use web 2.0 tools to perform the research if we want to do so. Let me know if you are interested.