The supply chain has existed for centuries, ever since humans began trading with one another. For centuries, they’ve sought to make it more efficient to ensure that goods reach their destination quickly and in the best possible condition.
Technology has made this goal easier to reach than ever. Read on to learn how a real-time supply chain and ERP systems can benefit your organization.
A real-time supply chain relies upon two technological components: digitization and information that’s available in real-time.
Digitization refers to the transformation of information. It goes from being something that’s stored on paper into something that can be accessed on a device. While you might have digital information today as a result of software programs, it could be trapped in silos. The goal of digitization is to free that data so that it’s widely accessible.
Real-time information is data that’s available instantaneously. There’s no more waiting hours (or even longer) to get the data you need. Your information is there when you needed it so that you can make better decisions.
ERP systems can create real-time supply chains, and your organization can reap the benefits. What specific advantages will you realize?
For a start, you’ll have greater visibility into the supply chain, and it will be in real time. Here’s an example: you can see sales data in real time. That’s something that managers have only dreamed about for years.
A second advantage is closely linked to the first. ERP systems that enable real-time supply chains also enable visibility. You can act on the information you receive much faster. For instance, if you know that sales numbers for a particular product are declining, you can discontinue the product. That move saves you money because you’re no longer investing in a product that won’t earn you money.
Third, the real-time supply chain created by an ERP system allows you to better manage risk. Let’s say that your primary supplier can’t meet your demand for an order. The ERP system will tell you immediately, and then it will send the purchase orders to the alternate supplier of your choice. That way, you don’t lose any time or money.
A fourth benefit is that you save money thanks to ERP systems and real-time supply chains. ERP systems accurately reflect the levels of raw materials and inventory in stock, so you don’t order too much (or too little). You also have the knowledge to be able to better coordinate transportation with third-party logistics providers, which means that customers get their orders faster. And, because ERP systems are integrated with other systems (such as EDI), processes are automated. There’s far less human intervention, thus reducing the level of errors significantly. Streamlined processes are better for the bottom line.
Greater efficiency and making the best possible business decisions don’t have to be a goal that’s out of reach. The real-time supply chain, and the ERP systems which enable them, have put those aims well within reach. It’s up to you whether you want to fulfill those dreams or continue with the way things are now.