Implementing supply chain integration for data visibility | Transalis Blog

Businesses navigating this challenging economy need rapid data visibility across their trading networks. This can be achieved with supply chain integration.

Recent years have highlighted how building resilience and agility in the supply chain gives any business an advantage. But how to build this agility and resilience? One way is to mitigate the potential threat of production stoppages and shortages. This is especially applicable to companies with large-scale international manufacturer and/or supplier networks. These organisations are flipping their strategies in favour of shorter supply chains. However, for it to work optimally, operational performance needs to be fully visible.

Read the full report

Our published report outlines the 3 steps to creating a shorter, greener supply chain for your business. Including; extracts from trusted industry sources, details of client case studies and emerging business strategy trends.

Access to the right data at the right time could mean the difference between a future-proofed business or one that collapses at the first hurdle. This is especially important in the case of shorter supply chains where organisations are now utilising networks of micro manufacturers. End-to-end visibility establishes the overall business performance, highlights inefficiencies and informs the ongoing strategy. However, consolidating all this data and making it available for the entire trading network can be a challenge. Supply chain integration is therefore a vital tool in empowering these networks.

This blog outlines the business advantages of utilising automation technology to consolidate and analyse supply chain data. It also forms one of the chapters of our published report and covers everything you need to know about integrated supply chain management for micro-manufacturing networks.

Benefits of business data integrations

Automation technology has revolutionised the way businesses operate in almost every sector.

It removes countless hours of manual processing across business functions, which enables a more efficient business overall. Integrating business systems is also a great way to consolidate and analyse all kinds of business data, including: supply chain, warehouse, and sales reports. Here’s a summary of the top benefits of supply chain integration:

1. Improved inventory management

One of the primary benefits of automating supply chain management is the visibility of inventory levels. With automation software in place, organisations avoid overstocking or running low on product. Businesses can also receive automated alerts when the inventory levels fall below a certain level, which allows them to take corrective measures promptly. This ultimately leads to increased sales and customer satisfaction.

Automating the reorder process also ensures that the inventory levels are optimum. This results in better cash flow management, as businesses are not over-investing in inventory. Furthermore, it helps eliminate the need for manual counting and tracking. This minimises errors and saves time.

2. Optimised warehousing

Expanding warehouse capabilities or storage space is not always the answer to optimising warehouse operations. Automation technology helps consolidate warehouse data to identify inefficiencies in warehousing processes.

Automating the messages necessary for products to be picked, packed and shipped in a timely manner enhances the order fulfilment process. The speed and accuracy of this ultimately provides customers with a better service experience.

3. Reduced lead time

Businesses that use automation technology to consolidate all supply chain data can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in their operations. Once identified, organisations can implement better strategies that reduce the lead time.

A reduced lead time is vital for businesses. This is because shorter lead times result in faster order fulfilment, customer satisfaction, and enhance the bottom line.

4. Better collaboration

Automation technology also empowers supply chain and sales teams to work together efficiently. When all data is consolidated into one single dashboard, it eliminates the need for manual sharing of data. This enables all teams to have access to the same data, which results in more informed decision-making.

Moreover, by sharing supply chain data with sales teams, companies gain a complete picture of demand planning, resulting in better forecasting, inventory management, and ultimately higher efficiencies throughout the supply chain.

5. Enhanced reporting

Another major advantage of automation technology is the ability to generate real-time reports. These reports can include financial data, sales data, and supply chain and warehouse data. The beauty of this technology is that businesses can tailor the reports to their requirements.

By analysing the reports, businesses can identify trends, track KPIs, and optimise supply chain operations. Real-time reports allow businesses to make immediate decisions, which is crucial to improving performance and staying competitive.

Enhancing reporting functionality is especially important for supply chain visibility for organisations with a micro manufacturing strategy in place. As is outlined in the next section of this blog.

Supply chain data visbility

Maximising micro-manufacturer productivity with supply chain visibility

The major compromise of switching to a micro-manufacturing network is the reduced individual capacity to supply. Therefore, coordinating the product output to match the demand becomes critical.

Expanding the range of digital messages exchanged across the network is essential for the strategy to work efficiently. The typical EDI message set of order and invoice alone is not sufficient to support agile inventory management. Therefore additional EDI message types, including stock level and sales reports, increase the visibility of the overall product availability and highlights consumer buying trends.

For example, Transalis use EDI to automatically capture and combine these data sets for increased visibility. In this particular example, we would recommend implementing a digital transformation layer that can connect to multiple endpoints, so there is also no risk of siloed processes. This type of solution can easily distribute this information across the supply chain for agile order fulfilment.

This data flow is visualised in the infographic below, demonstrating the combination and feed of data from retailer sales reports (far left), manufacturer capacity leads (top middle), and warehouse stock levels (far right):

 

As demonstrated in the graph below, all of these sources of information can be combined to accurately predict future consumer demand and plan additional production ahead of sales spikes. For example, depending on existing stock levels (Warehouse Data) and manufacturer capacity (Lead and Capacity), production for additional stock to meet the required demand (Sales Data) can be efficiently split across the network of micro-manufacturers.

With an integrated digital transformation layer, organisations essentially have supply chain predictive analytics to anticipate sales peaks and enact a dynamic demand planning strategy with their micro-manufacturer network. Overall, this solution improves the agility and effectiveness of the supply chain by:

  • Increasing supply chain data visibility for all parties involved

  • Removing siloed processes

  • Controlling costs (vs. managing multiple applications for each endpoint)

Data integration for effective supply chain management

Unification is at the heart of making a business integration strategy work.

Supply chain integration has the power to offer complete visibility of operational performance. The technology provides businesses with real-time supply chain visibility. This enables informed decisions, optimises performance, and ultimately enhances the bottom line. A single digital transformation layer is the right approach as it can be operational in a matter of weeks, thanks to a coherent onboarding strategy. This solution unifies data by converting different file types into a single structured format and feeding it to the chosen system(s).

Organisations that invest in supply chain integration will enhance performance, increase operational efficiency, and ultimately achieve higher profitability. Transalis offer a range of services that support the universal visibility of business data. With tried and tested strategies, these projects have the right resources from the outset to ensure rapid and effective deployment.


eDI Software

If you’d like to discuss how supply chain integration supports efficient business operations then get in touch via 0845 123 3746 (UK callers) or +44 1978 369 343 (international callers), or email sales@transalis.com. You can read about this digital transformation strategy and more in our whitepaper report which is available in our Knowledge Hub.


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