Supply chain visualization converts the vast amounts of data available across multiple supply chain solutions into easily read dashboards and metrics displayed in real time that executives and supply chain planners can use to gauge the health of their supply networks. The result is faster and more efficient decision making.
Here are a few of the ways that supply chain visualization can help day-to-day operations:
Proactive Customer Service
The fastest way to lose a customer is to deliver his/her orders consistently after the promise date. With the increased visibility from supply chain visualization, companies operate more effectively so this occurs less frequently. Even so, some orders will inevitably be late when things don't go according to plan.
With traditional enterprise resource planning or supply chain systems, unless you already know an order will be late, it is extremely difficult to find the information within these systems. If the company uses multiple software solutions for various aspects of the supply chain, it is nearly impossible to find out which orders will be late as a result of late deliveries from a supplier. It is equally hard to see which sales orders might be affected if a customer needs a rush order placed ahead of existing orders - especially if products use common components or sub-assemblies.
Supply chain visualization enables users to immediately see the information quickly and easily, even if the data comes from multiple systems. They know right away if they have material on an order to cover additional demand, or which customer orders will be late as a result of delayed deliveries or changes in sales order priorities.
By having fast, accurate and easy-to-manage information at their fingertips, supply chain professionals can take proactive steps to notify the customer that orders will be late, and what the new expected date will be. Customers appreciate the courtesy, and are less likely to drop the company as a supplier because of the issue.
Available to Promise
As much as companies might like to try, it isn't possible to have every product in stock 24/7. The next best option is to provide accurate promise dates to customers. That isn’t always possible when the supply chain consists of multiple systems for supply chain planning, supply chain execution and inventory management. Supply chain visualization consolidates data from multiple systems and presents it in an easily readable and understandable format so customers and customer service representatives have realistic expectations about when orders will ship. Having accurate shipment information helps improve customer satisfaction, which helps increase revenue from repeat orders.
Supply chains are almost inevitably global today, and that can make sourcing more complicated. Not only do buyers need to consider price, quality and on-time delivery performance, they also need to consider logistics time and costs when deciding on the right supplier for an order. Once again, supply chain visualization consolidates data from supplier performance records, logistics information, contracts and request for quote (RFQ) data and open purchase orders in real time, and presents the information in a way that simplifies the decision about the right supplier for the next purchase order.
When companies have multiple suppliers, it makes sense to evaluate every buy in terms of the supplier performance as well as the costs of delivering material to the point of use when the company has multiple facilities. Supply chain visualization helps ensure that the buyer makes the right choice for the company, given all the facts. Without visualization, it's easy to simply place the purchase order with any supplier.
React to Changes in Supply and Demand
One of the most complex issues in supply chain management is deciding what to do about changes in supply or demand. Supply chain managers need to be able to see open purchase orders beside open sales orders to decide on a plan of action. If deliveries will be delayed, seeing other open orders that could be pulled or redeployed helps to make decisions simple. This is a slow, cumbersome and error-prone process - even if the data is exported electronically. By the time all the data is ready, things have changed. With real-time supply chain visualization, users don't have to waste time consolidating data from multiple systems into a spreadsheet to see what's possible. The visualization software does it all for them and presents the results in an easy-to-understand graphic.
Orchestrate for Efficiency
Supply chain visualization enables companies to orchestrate their supply chains for maximum efficiency while also allowing supply chain managers to immediately see all aspects simultaneously. They can see alternative sources and suppliers to evaluate the effect on overall costs, the projected effects of increases or decreases in demand, or what steps are necessary to prepare for planned promotions. These are simple, everyday occurrences that are virtually impossible to effectively plan and execute when the necessary data comes from various systems. Users are forced to re-enter data derived from multiple systems into spreadsheets or manual tools and then create complex algorithms to decide on the best course of action.
Even when they make this effort, the results are still generally mediocre because the data is rapidly outdated or because it takes too long to complete the complicated process. Users end up relying on guesswork, and as a result, the company wastes money on a second-rate supply chain rather than the streamlined, effective supply chain they could have easily orchestrated using real-time visualization.
These are just a few of the ways that supply chain visualization supports more effective supply chains operations. Real-time supply chain visualization allows companies using multiple disparate systems to control their supply chain to enjoy the cost efficiency, fact-based decisions and customer loyalty that a world-class supply chain enables.
Source: RMG Networks
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