Financial Data
Updated 29 Sep 2020

7 Ways data is restructuring the supply chain

A lot of times, companies spend too much time investing and looking into systems to power the supply chain. Here are seven examples of how integrated data can improve your supply chain. 

Ralf Rolle , 05 July 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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Systems that enable sharing of data and process automation allow supply chain processes across different departments to be optimised. This increases operational efficiencies and provides the best customer experience. Data integration can be the differentiator that enables companies to disrupt processes to increase efficiency.

For example, imagine an ERP system receiving sales orders electronically from the customer relationship management (CRM) system, processing orders and scheduling deliveries automatically, and sending updated stock and delivery information back to the CRM system. With automation and integration between the different systems, there can be faster order fulfilment, reduced costs and increased customer satisfaction.

Here are examples of how integrated data can improve supply chain:

1. Real-time reporting

With integrated data, supply chain professionals can make decisions based on the accurate picture of supply chain activities across the organisation. These activities include sales, manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, procurement, finance, marketing and product lifecycle management.

A distribution centre for example, can seek to have a high fill rate but if the fulfilling orders cost is too high, profit margin goals will be disrupted. A comprehensive view of all activities makes certain orders are met in the most effective way.

Related: Supply chain management for business growth

2. Customised supply chains

Companies may over-service some customers while providing less than satisfactory service to high volume customers. Integrating data in such a situation will allow you to have supply chain systems in place according to a customer’s service level agreement. This will mean maximum value at the lowest possible cost.

3. Full financial commitment control

Having control and visibility over the whole life-cycle of a transaction beginning from purchase approval to final invoice payment, gives you full insight into cash-flow and financial commitments. Integrating procure to pay functionality enables ERP systems to extend to the final documents to confirm that goods were received and signed for, before invoices are paid.

4. Accurate demand forecasting

Full -financial -forecasting

Having up-to-date sales data fed into ERP will mean having accurate orders for raw materials, causing efficient deliveries, improved customer satisfaction and improved margins as transportation and inventory costs will have reduced.

5. Earn preferential carrier treatment

Integrating ERP with warehouse management and yard management software will enable a company short dwell times and long tender lead times. It will also mean attaining “preferred shipper” status and having an easier time finding capacity because businesses will always choose to work with a company that improves their efficiency.

Related: 10 supply chain trends

6. Production management improvement

As PLM manages the development of a product and ERP manages the resource planning for production, it will make sense to make sure that systems are fully integrated.

When the design has developed and reached a point where resources need to be managed to produce a product, an ERP system should be able to import the most up-to-date product data and share with the necessary departments to ensure accurate financial planning.

7. Close the speed versus accuracy gap

For operational goals to meet corporate values and brand images, all supply chain costs need to be analysed together. The company for example, can select to move inventory at the lowest possible cost, move goods the fastest way possible regardless of costs, or have the highest possible quality of order fulfilment with zero errors. Having cost data and variables together in on system will allow for this and an easy trade-off analysis.

Businesses that integrate data and processes across various business systems can optimise their supply chains and provide customers with the best possible service from order to delivery.

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About the author

Ralf Rolle

Ralf Rolle is the Key Accounts Director at Dovetail Business Solutions. With industry experience of more than 25 years, he has lectured at the University of the Witwatersrand and continually contributes to various thought leadership articles in leading industry publications with a focus on logistics software and how technology can meet the constantly changing elements of the logistics industry. He thrives on building and maintaining relationships with Dovetail’s clients as well as creating new partnerships and connections.

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