How much of your supply chain management do you truly have control over? Many manufacturers focus on the core elements, including primary suppliers, inventory and warehousing. But is this enough, especially when there is an increasing need for corporate accountability and lean processes?
There are tools now readily available to help organisations drill down on the way all suppliers impact businesses – and determine how that affects your finished product and customer relations.
It's vital to use these tools – and the principles of best practice – to support profitable growth and build or maintain a competitive advantage.
1. Integrate supply management systems
Many manufacturers already operate on a digital platform(s) to manage their supply chain and production processes. But that is not the same as having a truly integrated system or one that can be classed as a true digital workplace.
Does your current system provide a genuine free flow of data from start to finish, with no overlaps, duplication or bottlenecks? If not, your supply chain processes may not be as efficient as they can be. With any new or existing supply chain solution, you need to audit it regularly for optimal efficiency.
2. Create tools for clarity and collaboration
The best lean supply chain planning will provide you with seamless data that can be accessed and analysed at any stage, from any relevant device. You need 24/7 insights into any progress and problems within your organisation. It should also offer you more opportunities for real-time collaboration and problem-solving.
3. Support improvements in supplier performance
Sourcing and introducing new suppliers can impact negatively on resources, outweighing any efficiencies you were seeking - due to the lack of history you have with them.
If possible, find ways to help suppliers to improve their quality, delivery times and yield. Partnerships make commercial sense, as the more you invest in strong supplier relationships, the better basis you have for strategic development. But if you wish to see what the market has to offer, always trial new suppliers before you make any radical changes.
4. Suppress cycles and maximise inventory yield
Supply chain best practice include constantly measure and evaluate the way stock arrives, how it's handled and utilised and then how it leaves the factory on the way to customers. If you are inventory rich and cash poor, the reason could be interruptions and sticking points in the flow of goods from suppliers to customers.
Proper supply chain management means having the data you need in sufficient detail. It can enable you to pinpoint and eliminate waste and speed things up. The result should be inventory will arrive when required and is promptly utilised.
5. Collate and analyse meaningful data
Many of the practices already referenced involve having ERP software that provides meaningful data, specific to your manufacturing operations.
This is not just the flow of goods in and out, but a system to manage and track all costings. For example, an integrated ERP software will enable all costings to be marked against every part of the production cycle, including the amount of time worked on a job, component prices, shipping costs etc.
6. Make sure you have scalable solutions
When configuring or implementing new systems, one eye should always look to the future. Solving today’s challenges will become a full-time job, when in fact, technology provides you with ample methods of keeping ahead of your competition and financial targets.
For example, does your ERP system offer predictive supply chain analysis? Can it be altered with additional capabilities as you grow and develop as a company? Can you find ways to integrate distributed digital ledger transactions into your system to keep pace with the development of Blockchain transactions?
The embodiment of these supply chain management best practices is WinMan ERP Software, due to its integration. To discuss how it can assist you with your lean strategy, supply chain management and increase your business growth potential, contact us today.