Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Keeping Track of your Supply Chain - 8 1/2 key points to ponder

When it comes to the Extended Supply Chain, it is critical to ensure that any issue that occurs during the process is uncovered in a timely manner. Once an issue has been uncovered it then becomes critical to take action on it in order to get the process back on track. Without this kind of actionable insight we will simply running less effectively and ultimately end up paying more for the execution of our Supply Chain. Increased buffer stock to account for Supply Chain irregularities, poorly optimized reorder points and optimal order quantities, and so on... We have lived with chaos and exceptions for so long but there is hope; there is light at the end of the tunnel. We need to take charge of the Supply Chain and it all begins with gaining control through visibility in to what is actually happening.

In order to monitor your supply chain effectively you need ALL of the following components in place:
  1.  Get data: Automatic data feed from systems - External and internal communication needs to be near real-time. The Supply Chain waits for no one and information is King in today's chain.
  2. Get connected: External partner collaboration - Timely, accurate reporting of Supply Chain related events by all partners (suppliers, distributors, carriers, freight forwarders, ...) Simply put, we need to know sooner rather than later that an issue has occurred. Also, a partner may not know that an issue has occurred but by simply reporting in a Supply Chain event can cause follow on actions to get things back on track
  3. Get collaborative: Process integration - Your ERP system needs to be highly integrated so that an exception or opportunity in 1 process can be "sensed" and "responded" to in another. This cross-functional impact is key!
  4. Learn from the past: Historical information - Relate what you are seeing at this moment with previous similar moments (Avoid kneejerk reactions if the exception is not really an exception)
  5. Gain control: An rule based event tool - An enterprise wide Supply Chain event repository with a rule engine is needed to process events and uncover exceptions. Match the actual with the plan to uncover exceptions
  6. Gain better insight: A real-time analytics tool - The event tool needs to extend to a Supply Chain cockpit for KPI analytics processing / dashboarding - In real-time!!!! The drill-down capability from KPI issue -> to process issue -> to instance issue... This is critical to collapse the time from insight to action.
  7. Give access: Make the information accessible - Provide the results in an easy to consume manner. It's important to leverage the platforms that the consumers are used to whether it be the web, twitter, email, texts, ... All devices, on which the information is provided, should be supported
  8. Take action: Alert and Workflow management - Once an issue has been uncovered it is time to address it. Time is of the essence! Launch an alert, fire off a text, trigger a corrective workflow, reschedule a shipment, ... Get cracking...
There is no 1/2 point! I just wanted to see if you made it to the bottom of the article ;)

See more details on the Solution Brief from SAP in here.