One of the great things about shopping online is the tracking information. It’s so reassuring to follow your box’s path across your computer screen until it makes its way to your porch. On a grand scale, companies today need similar tracking for their systems. Thanks to various setbacks, both natural and manmade, we don’t always have access to the things we need. However, there is a way to avoid those shortages and keep your company on time and on track, and that’s by having supply chain visibility.
It’s as simple as it sounds. Having supply chain visibility means having well-defined insight into your company’s operations, as well as visibility with businesses in which you partner. For this to occur, you must utilize systems that track components and sub-components through their real-time path to each supply chain checkpoint. This allows you to keep an eye on everything from initial procurement stage to final end-user delivery and distribution.
If an issue occurs, you know about it. Shortages, bottlenecks, or malfunctions won’t be able to completely derail an operation because your operation will have an early awareness of them. Additionally, you will have access to trends like repetitive shortages or malfunctions and be able to make new decisions to improve matters.
With these improvements, you are able to keep your customers informed and happy, and this will hopefully lead to lengthy partnerships and recommendations.
Here are a few steps to help achieve this level of visibility.
- Reflect on Current Processes
How are things currently going in regards to your supply chain? Is information being communicated and reported well? Are workflows set up efficiently?
This will require you to check in with a large number of people: department heads, stakeholders, external partners, etc. With this information, though, you will have a good idea as to how one component moves to the next. Identify gaps and other concerns, and assess how they impact your business. Are your customers losing faith in you because of a lack of insight? Are you losing money or spending more on trying to track things down?
- Make Purposeful Goals
Now that you’ve considered any problem areas, think about what outcomes you would like to see. With accurate and complete supply chain data, you can improve the overall customer experience and build your bottom line.
Establish goals and deadlines, keeping in mind both short and long-term goals. Think about what this could do for your business both now and in the future.
- Select the Right Technology
There are a number of solutions for this step, but a few of them are:
As much as we want to, we can’t monitor everything all the time. If nothing else, we have to sleep. What we can’t do, a bot can.
Artificial intelligence and advanced data analysis tools can assist your supply chain by monitoring activities in real-time. They can measure risk as well as alert management of any problems.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems streamline your business processes by leveraging data and automating key functions. Because of their data capabilities, they can add visibility to the supply chain.
Thanks to the digital data ecosystem made available via IoT (internet of things), your various systems are able to communicate and update regularly.
Among other things, IoT allows you superior access to data in order to do things like monitor environmental conditions and temperature, check traffic patterns, track product location, and in general keep a close eye on your products or materials. With this, you ensure that your products are produced and delivered with the utmost efficiency.
With similar processes as the ERP, a supply chain management (SCM) system keeps its focus more so on external-facing processes, like receiving updates from vendors. These systems strive to create clear communication between supplier and distributors.
It’s important to note that some ERP systems come equipped with a SCM tool.
In a time when we humans are used to having what we want when we want it, it’s important to find ways to survive this supply chain conundrum. With the right technology, your company can explore every aspect of the supply chain and stay ahead of the game. The consultants at Godlan can help you explore your company’s ERP possibilities and find the right systems to have supply chain visibility. Give your company a competitive edge by visiting www.godlan.com or calling 586.464.4400.