Is your company looking to optimize its supply chain? Visibility is the key. The supply chain includes all processes from the delivery of raw materials from suppliers to manufacturers, through the creation of the product, delivery, and finally to the end-user. The complexity of each process requires proper planning and organization to ensure accuracy. And to ensure accuracy, you need visibility.
Visibility is all about the data and how that data is used to supply and deliver product and materials accurately. This key part of supply chain operations supports functions such as transportation, fleet, and warehouse operations. Here are three ways in which visibility into operations supports supply chain processes:
#1 Visibility Reveals True Organizational Processes
Awareness of the organization’s processes is crucial for creating and maintaining an optimized supply chain. With the right systems in place, employees can be more productive because they can more easily track and locate materials needed for manufacturing, order fulfillment, and planning. This data will also provide information that can be used to track and manage operational expenses and forecasting. Increased visibility ensures accurate planning and management of inventory and deliverables.
#2 Provides an Opportunity to Improve Performance Levels
A significant benefit of visibility into your supply chain is the ability to identify areas requiring improvement so workflows can be streamlined and more efficient. This benefits your organization and employees, creates a higher satisfaction level for your customers, and allows suppliers to serve your business better. Benefits from improved performance include providing materials in a timelier fashion or providing better pricing on materials ordered more frequently or in greater quantities.
Gaining insight into the gaps in your processes offers a better chance to improve and bring greater overall efficiency.
#3 Keeps Customers Satisfied and Loyal
One often overlooked benefit of supply chain visibility is the ability to keep customers satisfied and loyal to your organization. Supply chain visibility allows you to streamline processes and avoid bottlenecks, resulting in a faster, more efficient order fulfillment process. Without the ability to anticipate inventory levels, you won’t be able to process orders accurately, pick and pack orders correctly, and ensure on-time fulfillment, resulting in wasted time backtracking and managing returns rather than successfully getting orders out the door. The labor and expense needed to correct miss-ships can add up to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Not to mention the impact it could have on repeat business.
Forklift mounted computers and tablets can save workers time, and reduce errors.
Tools to Enhance Supply Chain Visibility
If your processes lack the visibility needed to improve worker productivity and increase order accuracy, I have good news. It’s easier than you think to make the changes necessary to gain better insight.
There are many reliable systems (software and hardware) that integrate seamlessly with your Business Central solution to help you reduce the workload for your employees and deliver accurate data for greater consistency in operations.
Mobilize Your Workforce: Providing workers with handheld, hands-free vehicle-mount computers or rugged tablets reduces the number of steps employees have to take in the process. Your employees can view pick lists, view inventory levels, communicate with coworkers, and enter data without having to re-locate to a workstation. A mobile solution also provides your employees with up-to-the-minute information on item location, order requirements, and more.
Drill Down to the Details: The right tracking software can make all the difference when it comes to supply chain efficiency. Although your ERP can do a lot of heavy lifting, it may not offer the ability to provide the level of detail needed to improve key performance indicators like cycle time and demand forecasting. The ability to generate dashboards and workplace analytics means you can be more proactive in bringing accuracy and efficiency into daily workflows.
It’s a Matter of Now
If you’re feeling the squeeze of today’s supply chain struggles, you’re not alone. The disruption brought on by the pandemic has brought greater awareness of the overall societal and economic changes happening in our world. Consumers already expected order accuracy and immediate delivery, and now demands are even tighter with threats of short supply and longer lead times. The success of your business depends heavily on being able to plan appropriately, fulfill orders on time and correctly, and deliver quickly.
You’ve got to get it right the first time, or there may not be a second chance. At Barcom, we work with small and medium-sized businesses daily who struggle to free themselves of manual, paper-based processes or upgrade outdated, sluggish equipment. Today’s technology is faster and smarter than ever, and those who automate are continuing to be successful. Incorporating automation tools are decisions that pay themselves back in a matter of months, not years, making it a worthwhile and necessary investment. Contact us today to get started.