IT Can Revolutionize Supply Chain Management
With the need to be on top of complex processes, companies in manufacturing, distribution and retail are increasingly using IT to support their supply chain management. A recent WSJ article mentioned how chain management, once a “necessary evil” has become a core competency. Supply chain management is even becoming a popular MBA concentration.
A New Way to See Supply Chains
“In 2013, supporting the productive enterprise, the necessity for speed in the context of complexity and data overload will require that supply chains embrace resiliency and become ‘massively multidimensional’,” said Simon Ellis, practice director, IDC Manufacturing Insights.
“From a cultural perspective, I still think manufacturers think of the factory as playing the key developmental role. Maybe that’s past us now, and it’s time to start thinking about supply chains in terms of procurement, contract management and supply management, ” Ellis added. “There will always be companies who don’t move as quickly as they should, but for the most part, we see companies gradually accepting the realities and adapting accordingly.”
Supply chain software can make the difference in streamlined profits or wasting valuable resources on non-value adding activities.
1. Monitor All Stages of Production
The supply chain includes production, transport, distribution and other logistics, as well as the engineering and financial considerations involved in each of those elements. For distributors that produce or assemble their items, software like Epicor’s supply chain system, go beyond traditional kitting functionality to offer comprehensive production management. An effective supply chain management and sourcing solution should be designed to simultaneously handle make-to-order, make-to-stock and engineer-to-order processing, giving you the flexibility to review and update plans as demand changes.
2. Add Agility for Improved Forecasting
Whether you are an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or a mid-sized manufacturer in the U.S., you will be continually faced with challenges. “Supply chain responsiveness is a first principle, including improving forecast accuracy while also driving for more flexible and agile factory networks and broader visibility,” concludes Ellis.
3. Increase Sales and Monitoring Using Mobile Platforms
Mobile-based technology, according to Industry Week, can help you improve field sales, merchandizing and marketing, and enable direct services to your consumer particularly as a B2C company. You are able to give valuable information on demand about quality, origin, item contents, specialized information on demand, sustainability stats and targeted local content. This allows manufacturers a way to enhance the brand and connect directly with the consumer.
4. Optimize Data for All
Track project execution and metrics in real-time by using data from POS sales for instance or social media information to best identify trends. With this data you can make changes proactively for faster supply chain response, to increase sales, improve service levels or adjust inventory.
5. Web and Cloud Based Access
Your business, whether B2B and B2C, can have 24/7 access to suppliers and customers. You will be able to have information at your fingertips about warehouse inventory, shipment processes and reporting systems so you can best serve your customers.