6 Signs You're Ready for a New Supply Chain Execution Solution

Customers expect and demand flawless customer service from suppliers and those suppliers are turning to logistics service providers to meet new and more demanding customer requirements. Are you ready to compete for their business?

Companies across consumer and commercial industries are moving more of their business to e-commerce. The 2014 industry study, U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling and Logistics lists e-commerce and relentless competition as key drivers of change in supply chain execution. As companies adopt new technologies to improve access, availability, and product ordering on the Internet, they’re adding pressures to their supply chain execution capabilities. Customers expect and demand flawless customer service from suppliers and those suppliers are turning to logistics service providers to meet new and more demanding customer requirements. Are you ready to compete for their business?
Here are six signs that you may be ready to expand your current system’s capabilities or invest in a new supply chain execution (SCE) solution to compete in the connected world.
It’s time to consider a new SCE solution if:
1. Your automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) systems are inadequate. The need for more speed, accuracy, and productivity, plus regulatory compliance for tracking and traceability make it imperative that you offer mobile transactions for both fulfilment and transport of items in the supply chain. Operations require integrated RF and/or voice technologies to improve data capture accuracy and reduce product touches in the supply chain. And as products flow through the supply chain, any changes to a product, custody, control, or attributes have to be recorded and maintained electronically for all process activities to ensure traceability and pedigree. An AIDC infrastructure is not optional anymore—it’s a competitive and regulatory requirement. Likewise, seamless integration to your SCE solution is also no longer optional. You need that integration to meet customer demands for timely, accurate visibility into inventory management and fulfillment operations.
2. You lack automated support for multiple customers in the same facility. Companies of all sizes are being challenged by customers to meet shorter lead times, often next day with 100% fill rates. To meet that challenge, they’re turning to their logistics service providers for stocking, picking, packing, shipping, and tracking quantities that don’t require a dedicated facility. Logistics service providers must be able to receive, identify, put away, and make visible items from multiple customers in the same facility. This requires a SCE solution that can dynamically and optimally locate and track items and activities performed (operational and value-add) for multiple customers in the same facility. And, it requires real time integration with the customer’s inventory and order management system to ensure accurate visibility, availability, and fulfillment, while accounting for all of the activities performed on the customer’s behalf for accurate costing and billing.
3. Effective labor management is a challenge. Labor productivity and cost are the most competitive cost levers for logistics service providers. Monitoring labor performance against contractual metrics allows managers to institute corrective actions immediately upon detection. Managers need performance management dashboards and alert that call attention to any deviation from plan or operating metrics. Operators need guidance to optimally execute their responsibilities and improve their productivity and overall performances. Your system has to have the ability to support value added service activities, as well as transactional activities by customer for accurate and comprehensive billing. And, while monitoring the workforce in real time, information has to be presented for ease of use and to facilitate rapid training and prescriptive guidance throughout the process. Infor® SCE can handle all that. It gives you performance management dashboards, alerts, and the ability to evaluate and cost labor standards to meet competitive requirements, while tracking actual performance to contractual compliance.
4. You lack actionable information for decision making. Effective decision making requires a new level of analytics to take advantage of the increasing amounts of data being collected. Today’s SCE solutions include sophisticated business intelligence tools and analytics to provide managers and operators with more actionable information to support daily decision-making. In addition, social business technologies, such as Infor Ming.le™, allow employees to rapidly share the information with colleagues where collaboration or approvals are required to resolve problems and take corrective actions. As an added bonus, real time data collection, business intelligence tools and analytics, social business, and role-based user interfaces can dramatically improve productivity and performance.
5. You can’t meet the talent challenge. The old stereotype of “label lickers and box movers” doesn’t apply to supply chain operations and logistics service providers. Today, all employees are skilled knowledge workers. So, it’s time to talk “SMAC” about your company—social, mobility, analytics, and cloud—the key attributes of the technologies workers use to perform their jobs. Raised on iPhones®, iPads® and social media, the incoming supply chain workforce is accustomed to having access to information any time, from anywhere, with easy-to-use screens. Give your potential employees an idea of how the same types of technology are being used on a daily basis in your supply chain execution environment, so they’ll feel a connection to the work they’ll be doing. It’s difficult to recruit talent for connected commerce if your technology is older than the talent.
6. You need better customer integration and supply chain visibility to compete. Global competition, complexity, speed, accuracy, regulatory compliance, and shareholder and customer demands are pressuring companies to improve operating performance by increasing visibility across their supply chains. SCE solutions for logistics service providers have to be quickly and cost effectively integrated with their customers’ systems to provide visibility to inventory and operational information. With Infor Supply Chain Execution, you get the flexibility and configurability you need to meet customer requirements, while operating an agile business. The solution takes advantage of Infor ION®, a new generation of business middleware that puts better information into the hands of users, faster. As the underlying architecture for Infor Supply Chain Execution, Infor ION helps logistics service providers streamline their workflow, integrate with customers’ systems, and provide supply chain information the goes beyond traditional notions of visibility
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