Without a doubt one of the most crucial tools available to supply chain professionals today is information technology (IT). IT can be the glue that help Supply Chain deliver real value to organizations – however an incorrectly configured system or a poor technology choice can bring it’s own problems – here we check out 6 things that your Supply chain IT system should deliver.
1. Efficient Transaction Management
Having simple standard transaction processes, for example how you raise a Purchase Order, supported by a user friendly user interface is a must – make it easy for users to capture data once and then utilize it again and again within the system. Pay close attention to processes that may result in data integrity concerns – make sure that your transactions capture the key information that you require to monitor your business and look for automation of repetative non-value add activities where possible
2. Business Intelligence
An adequate business intelligence or management reporting solution is often the keystone of any business – for Supply Chain that’s equally true – knowing where your assets are, accurate and timely inventory information, supplier performance and a firm grip on costs should be easily achieved at the click of a mouse. Look to ensure that everyone in your organization has access the data they need when they need it.
3. Enterprise Integration
Linking the supply chain both internally and externally is no longer a pipe dream – tools such as XML and intelligent transaction processing systems allow different companies spread across different geographies to collaborate in real time – share order books, asset information or collaborate on tenders or bids – ensure that your system is capable of sharing data with your partners.
Your system should enable you to flow activity within the system to your hierarchy of users – need to get approval on an order – do it electronically with workflow – had a delivery rejected by your warehouse – send out automatic alerts to QA – gone out of stock for an item of inventory – flag it up to your materials management team for action – look to use your system to manage by exception.
Having the right planning tools will get you where you want to get to tomorrow and highlight your business risks before they bite – need to plan your inventory costs over the next 5 years – need to understand your staffing needs on your electrical commodities – make sure your solution has adequate planning and forecasting out of the box.
Collaboration sparks ideas – can save money and brings the company closer together – get the benefits of having design and procurement work closer to share and work on the same data – Need Design and Procurement to work on a Bill of Materials?- having the right collaboration tools can deliver real value.