Forward-thinking business leaders have the goal of achieving operational excellence, but many companies fall short. They can’t get the data they need in real time. Instead, they turn to IT, diverting that department’s valuable resources. This has been an ongoing problem for years.
This year doesn’t have to be like the past years (or the years prior). Read on to learn about the steps you can take to achieve operational excellence by aligning technologies, distribution logistics, and processes, and how real companies have successfully attained this goal.
Where is the Future of Supply Chain Management Headed?
What does the future of supply chain management look like now and in the years ahead? It’s safe to say that technology is going to play a significant role in shaping this field. In fact, the manufacturing industry is already being transformed by technology. Manufacturers have begun investing in equipment that contains Internet of Things (IoT) sensors as well as robotics and mobile solutions such as smart glasses. While all of these things can make manufacturing more efficient, manufacturing process automation will fall short if you can’t leverage your data.
Your data contains critical insights into how to streamline the manufacturing process to make it more cost-effective and profitable. Such information, sadly, is locked away in silos. This problem becomes more acute the larger the company is.
The Current Challenges of Supply Chain Management
Technology can alleviate this problem, if you’re using the right kind. Many companies have turned to business intelligence (BI) solutions only to find that they don’t get the job done.
Here’s the problem with BI: It’s meant to provide access to and analysis of your ERP system, but BI tools don’t come with the necessary infrastructure to extract data from that system. Ultimately, firms wind up using Excel to format information and then analyze it.
It’s a frustrating situation for business leaders. In the coming year, they’ll actively look for ways to solve the problem. The right technological solutions help you manage distribution requirements planning and manufacturing requirements planning by integrating planning, reporting, and analytics in one place. They access your ERP system to provide actionable data to the right people at the right time.
How Real Companies Utilize Technology to Improve Supply Chain Management
For some firms, this will be a year that’s profitable. They’ll have a competitive edge in the market and seize new opportunities thanks to their agility. Here are three case studies of real companies that have implemented transformative technologies that have changed their distribution requirements planning and manufacturing requirements planning for the better.
The Womble Company, a pipeline coating systems firm based in Houston, TX, has been in business since 1972. Customers send it pipes to store and then coat. Womble has 253 acres of outdoor storage and over 2,300 inventory locations. The firm tracks the pipes from the time it receives them until the time they leave Womble’s facility.
Womble uses JD Edwards’ ERP system as well as Hubble to report on its operations. IT and Operations Manager Bryan Brewer turned to Hubble when the president of the company requested greater visibility into Womble’s operations. Brewer and his staff investigated several business intelligence solutions, ultimately finding them expensive and lacking the features Womble needed.
Hubble provides Womble with the ability to give customers a self-service portal in which they can see their inventory at every step of the process as well as change orders or customize settings. The performance management platform also allows Womble’s president to gain insights into the company’s activities. Since implementing Hubble, Womble has improved performance and gone from meeting over 70 percent of their planned targets to 99 percent, every day and on every order.
Mizuno is a Japanese sporting goods manufacturer that first opened its doors in 1906. When it celebrated its 100th anniversary, the company’s leadership wasn’t going to rest on Mizuno’s laurels; they wanted to make the next century even better. Their goal was to dramatically improve their revenue in Europe, but to do so, they needed to revamp their technological infrastructure.
The sports manufacturing company relied upon manual processes including the use of spreadsheets, in addition to five accounting systems and two operating systems. This situation meant that Mizuno was reactive to events, instead of proactively seizing opportunities.
Mizuno wanted to make the most of its JD Edwards ERP system. The leadership team of this project ultimately chose Hubble over several contenders because it is easy to use, offers 24/7 support, and has an integrated approach to performance planning and management. Mizuno staffers were impressed by the one-day implementation time as well as the speed of running inquiries.
Bibby Distribution is a logistics firm based in the UK. For the past three decades, the company has offered end-to-end supply chain services, from materials into manufacturing plants to sequencing, storage, and distribution. Bibby’s focus on its customers is laser-like, so it needed an ERP system that was up to that task.
The major weakness of the JD Edwards ERP system was that there were information bottlenecks, with the traffic jam stopping at the finance department. Cathy Reece, Bibby’s financial controller, sought a solution that would allow for easy, fast ad hoc inquiries throughout the company. Hubble stood out.
Hubble’s integrated reporting function saves Bibby thousands of pounds per year because the firm no longer outsources its reporting capabilities. Moreover, Hubble enables expedited audits, automated reports, and it supports Bibby’s aggressive growth plan so that the finance department doesn’t need to increase its headcount.
This year doesn’t have to be the same old story for companies in the manufacturing industry. Putting the right technology in place gives you valuable insight into your operations so you can streamline them and make your firm more profitable. To learn more, download our ebook to determine if BI is right for you, and what to do if not.