Emerging networking and collaboration tools transform real-time data from global suppliers into vivid, multitier supply chain maps.

The devastating tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident that rocked Japan in 2011 brought the complexity and vulnerability of global supply chains into sharp relief. Across the globe, the automobile, electronics, chemical, and retail sectors, among many others dependent on Japanese output, were faced with unprecedented disruption of their supply chains.

At the time, few of the affected organizations had sufficient visibility into their supply chains to plan for, or respond effectively to, a disruption of this magnitude. “Global companies can have hundreds of thousands of suppliers,” says Leonardo Bonanni, Ph.D., CEO of Sourcemap, a provider of web-based supply chain visualization solutions. “Yet most cannot interact with these suppliers in real time.”

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