Deploying Supply Chain Management (SCM) best practices and technology can add significant value to your business. Cost optimisation, revenue growth, and time to value reduction are just a few of the benefits retailers and manufacturers can expect. Supply chain technologies can influence both direct and indirect business impacts. To put it another way, it offers value in both obvious and less obvious, but equally valuable, ways. Let’s look at five major benefits of using technology in supply chain management.
1. Improved Access To Information
Supply chain technology that works well connects previously isolated data. When distinct sections of your supply chain (such as individuals, software systems, or external trading partners) don’t exchange information in a consistent, reliable, and repeatable manner, you have an information silo. When functions and departments inside a corporation (sales, production, distribution, and so on) do not communicate information, silos can form. This results in inaccurate forecasts, flawed executions and longer reaction times.
Information is gathered and made available to all supply chain participants through supply chain technology. When it comes to your power to see through and across your complete ecosystem, the term “visibility” starts to make sense. Visibility into consumer behaviours and network-wide visibility on important supply chain activities, demands, and disruptions are critical, both internally and with supply chain partners. Improvements in mobile technology now allow organisations to check inventory status, warehouse activity, product movement and much more quickly and easily, allowing them to satisfy the demands of their customers in a better way.
Orders, inventories, workforces, transportation networks, warehouses, and partner activities are visible to companies with best-in-class supply chains. They put that knowledge to good use by anticipating more clearly, planning more effectively, and reacting faster. With comprehensive and clear supply chain information, your company will be able to respond rapidly to unanticipated, potentially disruptive events.
2. Improved Insight
The foundation for essential decision-making is insight. Supply chain technology makes it easier to evaluate data, gain insights (on things like customer demand, transportation/warehouse restrictions, and supplier lead times), and make decisions that have direct and indirect effects on overall supply chain performance.
Furthermore, supply chain technology includes decision support features to help people make better decisions faster. This allows businesses to churn data and perform real-time simulations based on various scenarios, allowing them to assess multiple solutions. Smarter decisions can be made by better understanding the tradeoffs involved with each scenario response.
3. Improved agility
Technology in the supply chain enhances agility. It’s easier for executives to address problems or generate new company prospects much faster when they have better insight, thanks to enhanced access to information and simulations.
If your processes, systems, or organisation have obstacles (or silos), you won’t work with agility. You need to see events across your whole supply chain, evaluate their impact, and plan proactive fixes.
Good supply chain technology will most likely recommend “best” activities, which you can adjust if those actions become available. In today’s fast-paced business climate, this capability is critical. Providers who can connect planning and execution excel at ensuring that the entire organisation is on the same page and aware of new decisions.
4. Better Collaboration
Collaboration is a process in which two or more individuals or organisations work cooperatively to accomplish a shared goal. Successful supply chains embed systems and technology that enable, monitor, and evaluate collaboration between individuals, departments, and organisations in order to maintain a consistent flow of information, analysis, and choices.
Collaboration is critical as omnichannel consumers’ demands for choice, speed, and flexibility increase. Successfully negotiating these expectations needs agility and reactivity that technology-enabled businesses can only deliver.
The ability to maintain synchronisation across an extended network is a defining characteristic of highly competitive supply chains.
Retailers and manufacturers who have mastered this degree of collaboration regularly outperform on various critical financial indicators, including greater inventory turns, cost savings, and service levels.
5. Improved customer loyalty
Supply chain technology is more crucial than ever to customer happiness and loyalty, owing to the challenges faced by the omnichannel consumer. Customers want to know that the goods they’re looking for are in stock before they come into the shop and purchase. Retailers want on time, complete shipments to ensure that they have the necessary goods in stores when customers buy locally or fulfil online orders from them. As a result, consumer experience and loyalty are enhanced. This would not be possible without supply chain technology’s visibility, accuracy, and agility.
A technology-enabled supply chain can significantly reduce costs by speeding the movement of materials or subassemblies from suppliers to the plant in the appropriate proportions. For example, a streamlined supply chain can boost sales rapidly by delivering the proper products in the right amounts and at the right time from the production to the store, resulting in fewer out-of-stocks or overstocks. Manufacturers might anticipate a reduction in materials/parts inventories due to more efficient raw material utilisation and a more efficient factory floor. Effective forecasting and distribution should result in a smaller completed goods inventory, which equates to lower warehouse and transportation costs for both retailers and manufacturers.