Use the right software to streamline key processes
Effective and efficient supply chain management is an essential part of any wholesale and distribution business. However, especially for SMEs, the rewards for getting the balance right, and the penalties for getting it wrong, can have a major impact on business success. Whether your business is struggling to combat the impact of COVID, or has ambitious growth plans for 2022, visibility and control over your supply chain is going to be key to meeting your objectives.
On the face of things, supply chain operations should be straightforward. After all, we’re dealing with a linear process, right? You receive an order from a customer, you either fulfil the order from current inventory or place an order with a supplier, a delivery date is confirmed, and goods are dispatched. What could possibly go wrong?
With so many moving parts and dependencies in the supply chain there is more than one opportunity to drop the ball. Inefficiencies can creep into the process quickly if you don’t have access to real-time stock data, or if your forecasting is off and there is a mismatch between supply and demand. This either leads to customers having to wait for extended lead times to get the products they want, or warehouses are filled with unnecessary levels of stock. Neither is a good outcome.
Supply Chain Solutions
So how do you avoid these common issues? The key is visibility and control. For many organisations, this means having an integrated software solution in place to effectively handle sales, procurement and inventory management workflows from a single dashboard.
The majority of these integrated platforms (ERP solutions) will automate key processes that are triggered when sales orders are added to a system. Backordering products to avoid stockouts, for example, can lower inventory cycle times and help reduce costs.
Forecasting plays an important role in effective supply chain management and accurate forecasting is dependent upon access to the right management information. Sales directors and warehouse managers can’t be expected to predict the future. However, by providing access to both historical and real-time data for analysis, they can get a more accurate picture of inventory in and out and gain insight into potential changes in supply or demand.
Supplier Management Software
When you’re working with a centralised solution it’s not only customer orders that you’ll have greater insight into. By analysing your suppliers you’ll not only be able to work out who is able to offer you the most competitive deals, but also calculate what their lead times are.
Once you’re able to analyse factors such as delivery times, cost, the quality of goods provided and the fulfilment rates of orders, it will give you a better idea of which supplier to send your next purchase order to. This will also help you to create a list of preferred vendors, so you’re not always dealing with the same supplier or facing the same frustrations if you have problems with deliveries or quality control.
Although it may seem easier for your accounts team to work with a single supplier, by ranking your suppliers and using real-world data to understand their strengths and weaknesses you can set automations up within your system to streamline your supply chain. By raising automatic POs with minimum order quantities that have approvals from key stakeholders your business will be able to get goods in faster to match customer demand.
Even small businesses can have extensive supply chains. Business continuity is often about eliminating single points of failure, which means maintaining relationships with multiple vendors for individual products or services. The more vendors you have in your supply chain, the more complex it becomes to manage and with complexity, comes risk. Implementing a supply chain automation system is one of the best ways to mitigate this risk.
SAP Supply Chain Software
Seidor specialises in the implementation and support of SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign - integrated ERP solutions for growing companies working within the wholesale & distribution industries. Across the UK, our supply chain solutions are used to help automate and streamline key processes.
All of our SAP-powered solutions are able to capture and process sales orders either directly from customers via popular ecommerce sites or entered directly by your sales team. These end-to-end applications can manage subsequent business tasks to automate operations, boost productivity and ultimately profits into your organisation.
The best way to understand the advantages of a single platform to manage your supply chain operations is to see it in action. Why not get in touch and ask for a free demonstration? Take the first step towards greater supply chain visibility and control. Email us today on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01932 212777.