Harnessing the Power of Information Technology
Q: How do you squeeze the most reliability, accuracy, and cost efficiency out of today's supply chain?
A: Smart information technology (IT) is fundamental to success. Leading manufacturers know the importance of effective logistics management. Getting your product to the right place, just in time, and exactly as the retailer demands is crucial to the bottom line.
Q: How does IT transform logistics management?
A: Technology tools provide actionable data for supply chain improvements, cost efficiencies, on-time performance, and customer satisfaction. With every shipment, IT supports better methods and cost-effective processes to streamline your business, and manage today's super-charged supply chain with better results. It's mandatory for supplying mass retailers.
Q: What types of systems are most critical for improving supply chain performance?
A: A combination of tools clearly and instantaneously captures real-time data about a manufacturer's orders, received and distributed shipments, and inventory status, for reliable, accurate operations and efficiently tracking and preventing exceptions. These systems include:
- Real-time visibility and online shipment tracking. Access complete visibility of distribution status, harness useful data to ensure just-in-time deliveries and vendor compliance, and ensure immediate visibility of shipment status via the Web. It should be powerful and easy to use, feature advanced dashboards with one-click access to real-time data, and provide enhanced electronic data interchange (EDI) visibility so users can see exactly when electronic files are sent and received and view, print, or download documents.
- Complete EDI services. Required by major retailers, EDI saves time and money by ensuring the seamless movement of goods, resulting in lower administrative costs, automatically reconciled accounts, quick turnaround management reports, immediate compliance with retailers' mandates, and improved customer service.
- Warehouse management systems. Provides complete end-to-end supply chain support for real-time tracking and visibility of incoming product, shipping and delivery.
- Transportation management systems. Locates the best carrier service and rate package, ships freight, and provides detailed, real-time shipment tracking information.
- Electronic bill of lading technology. Reduces inaccuracies, time, and costs, and provides instantaneous online shipment details.
Smart use of IT enables more efficient, cost-effective movement of product through the supply chain, and provides actionable data necessary to increase productivity, reduce costs, and give your company a competitive edge. Often the best way to achieve this is by outsourcing logistics services for part or all of your supply chain management functions. In fact, 74 percent of the largest American manufacturers use third-party logistics (3PL) services. An effective 3PL will deliver measurable results by helping you operate more efficiently and keep costs low by using sophisticated, standardized IT as part of its warehousing and distribution services.