In any supply chain, there are risks. You trust a new supplier only to experience shipping delays.
Shifts in costs lead to spikes in customer pricing. Inventory managers can’t find missing parts.A container is stuck on the dock due to missing paperwork.
And because customers have higher expectations for on-time and accurate delivery than ever, even a little hiccup can result in customer disappointment or, worse, they go elsewhere in the future.
All supply chain managers have experienced this.
The successful ones understand that the ability to quickly respond to these inevitable obstacles—and to quickly communicate a solution to the end customer—can make or break a business, and they take advantage of new technologies to help.
One of the best ways to mitigate against risk is to make sure all players are on the same field.
This means creating a dashboard or portal that is accessible to everyone within an organization, and easily understandable to external supply chain links.
Triode Group Limited, a New Zealand company that manufactures parts for the electronics industry, found itself in a position many start ups do: they were using multiple spreadsheets to communicate internally as well as with vendors and customers.
Triode Group Limited found an ERP solution that allowed appropriate levels of access to all necessary parties using standardized reports and language. This new system led to sales and output growth of 20% in one year.
While it’s difficult to predict all potential supply chain issues that may arise, collecting the right data and using it to create reports can help supply chain managers see trends, market shifts, inventory challenges, and seasonal pricing fluctuations.
Northline Express sells products for the home through several eCommerce sites.
As they grew, they realized having the founder’s son go through each line of inventory (all 3,600 of them) each week was an inefficient way to stay on top of supply and demand.
The road was bumpy, but it meant they reduced manufacturing costs for some cares by 25%. Not only that, but those companies are now able to deliver a finished product in half the time it takes other manufacturers.
We’re not all as large as Honda and Toyota, of course, but there are lessons to be learned from their example.
Read The Entire 5-Part Series on Disruptive Supply Chain Technologies to Watch in 2018