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Your Supply Chain Management Software should have these 6 Attributes

September 7, 2017
Posted by James Hargraves

The increased complexity of the modern supply chain and manufacturing production line means that having effective supply chain management software (SCMS) is key to keeping operational processes on track. Almost every organisation, whether it’s large or small will already have some kind of system in place to manage its processes – even if that’s nothing more than a collection of Excel spreadsheets. But as we enter the Industry 4.0 era, having modern supply chain management software features will become more important. A lack of sophisticated features could mean that your processes are never optimised, and that your production yields are less than ideal.

We have identified six of the most important attributes of supply chain management software and their benefits, to help you pin-point any opportunities for advancement in your business.

  1. End-to-end (E2E)supply chain visibility

By far the most important of all the attributes is the ability to connect and view the entire process, from creating the initial product concept, through raw material sourcing, production and the final sale to customers. Most supply chain management software packages provide a view of an in-house production line, but the ability to monitor factors outside your direct business operations is much less common.

Having this level of visibility is becoming increasingly important as more businesses move towards an on-demand manufacturing model. By viewing data at the supplier level, you are much better placed to effectively plan production schedules and order the right quantity of raw materials – helping you to overcome shortages, or surpluses.

You also need visibility of the potential “gaps” between suppliers, your factories and the final destination. Logistics management, particularly in the last mile, is crucial to ensuring orders are being delivered quickly, accurately and efficiently.

  1. Supplier relationship management

Effective on-demand manufacturing requires a change in mindset, elevating suppliers to partner status, with shared goals. This close collaboration ensures that all parties benefit from any end-to-end supply chain process improvements.

The key to building successful partnerships is transparent communication. And ideally your supply chain management software should improve communications, visibility and collaboration. Your system should be the central reference point for all supply chain related activity – for you and your suppliers.

  1. Compliance monitoring

Even if you are only checking finished products against in-house QA standards, your SCMS must offer compliance monitoring. Using these insights you will be able to identify and rectify falling standards quickly, reducing the impact on your bottom line.

For manufacturers bound by regulatory requirements, compliance monitoring becomes even more important. With visibility of their whole supply chain, they can prove that technical and quality standards are being upheld at every point of the manufacturing process. These supply chain management software features allow your business to provide audited evidence of provenance, ethical sourcing, and environmental impact reduction efforts.

  1. Inventory management

Without accurate inventory management, you will be unable to properly manage stocks of raw materials, or finished products awaiting shipment. Furthermore, if your supply chain management software cannot tell you what you currently hold, you cannot hope to make accurate orders for raw materials either.

One of the goals of Industry 4.0 is to reduce waste – but if you cannot properly assess your inventory, you will invariably hold too much, or too little stock and materials. The further down the supply chain a business can see, the easier it becomes to plan how much stock it needs to held in warehouses at any point in time.

  1. Digitising PO Management and Document Management

SCMS automates purchase order processes which in turn reduces time and effort required to generate and monitor PO’s. If all parties are working on one platform – you can track and trace your inventory, view and manage your domestic and international orders in your supply chain at any point.

As a logical extension of purchase order management, your SCMS should also digitise document management in supply chain as it reduces the manual administrative tasks. Going online can lead to real cost savings, improved visibility and support the paperless drive.

  1. Business intelligence and reporting tools

Business Intelligence and reporting tools are essential to identifying potential process improvements and providing empirical evidence of where to concentrate resources and investment for maximum return. Without data-driven insights, any attempts at improving supply chain operations will be “best guesses” based on incomplete data.

You must also be able to configure real-time updates and alerts according to the metrics and parameters most important to your business. The sooner you know about a production bottleneck, the more quickly you can resolve it.

If you would like to learn more about Adjuno’s supply chain management software and how it will improve operational efficiencies and compliance for your business, please get in touch.

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James Hargraves – Business Development Director, Adjuno
James is a supply chain process and visibility expert, and has worked for a variety of global 3PLs, focusing on delivering cost and administrative efficiencies to retail clients. He has previously worked in Australasia and Dubai and has been based in Hong Kong since 2010. James currently manages the Supply Chain team at Adjuno, working with our global retail customers to optimize their supply chains.