February 2017 | Commentary | IT Matters

7 Ways to Digitally Transform Your Supply Chain

Tags: Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Logistics, Technology , Supply Chain

Glenn Johnson is Senior Vice President, Magic Software Americas, 949-250-1718

To keep the supply chain working at top efficiency, companies need not only a flexible and adaptable culture, but also a highly adaptable underlying IT infrastructure.

Companies invest a lot of time, effort, and money in developing systems to power the supply chain. The amount of data can be overwhelming. However, by connecting data and using an integration platform to orchestrate business processes between systems, data can be the differentiator that enables your company to disrupt processes to increase efficiencies and provide a superior customer experience.

Here are seven examples of how integrated data can introduce new efficiencies into the supply chain.

  1. Improved demand forecasting. Better coordination between Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and sales systems can result in more accurate forecasts, leading to more efficient ordering and improved margins. Demand-­driven logistics based on accurate data reduces transportation costs and inventory while improving competitive advantage.
  2. Cross-departmental planning. Integrated data enables business logistics professionals to make decisions based on a comprehensive and accurate picture of supply chain-related activities—sales, marketing, product lifecycle management, manufacturing, warehousing, procurement, finance, and transportation—across the organization.
  3. Segmenting supply chains. Integrating data between your customer relationship management and ERP systems enables you to easily segment customers and products, and develop dedicated supply chains with specific service level agreements to create maximum value at the lowest possible cost.
  4. Decide between fast or flawless deliveries. Analyze all supply chain costs together for a unified picture so operational goals can meet corporate values and brand image. Having cost data and variables together in one system enables easy tradeoff analysis.
  5. Achieving preferred shipper status. A company that integrates ERP with warehouse management software and yard management software to optimize transportation processes—such as enabling short dwell times and long tender lead times—will be a preferred shipper because those processes boost efficiency.
  6. Support for procure to pay. Control and visibility over the entire life­cycle of a transaction—from the way an item is ordered to the way the final invoice is processed—provides full insight into cash flow and financial commitments. Integrating procure to pay functionality gives ERP systems the ability to extend to the final documents used to verify invoices and confirm that goods were received and signed for.
  7. Using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems. Because PLM manages the development of a product and ERP manages the resource planning for production, it makes sense to integrate the systems. Once the design has developed to a point where resources need to be managed to produce the product, an ERP system should have the ability to import and share the latest product data with necessary departments for accurate financial planning.

Data integration across systems can help optimize the supply chain and enable your organization to provide customers with the best possible service from order to delivery. An integration platform that enables businesses to connect data and processes across systems gives your organization the adaptable IT infrastructure it needs to digitally transform the supply chain.






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