By Jonathan Attia, Managing Director, Wiise
Data is what drives informed business decisions. It’s crucial to have key data points across your supply chain to get complete visibility, and maximise efficiency and resilience.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, as soon as there’s an external environmental impact to the supply chain, every facet gets impacted. Businesses have not only had to throw out their forecasts but suddenly experienced major supply-demand issues. Either they had too much stock that was no longer in demand, or they had the right stock that was in demand, but couldn’t keep up with supply.
Data is vital in such a situation. Being able to access inventory levels across different locations and warehouses enables business owners and staff to see exactly where they might have extra stock to help supply demand. If you can see exactly what stock is where, you can easily move it around as needed and get it out of the door sooner. Real-time optimisation of your distribution keep both customers and suppliers informed and happy.
Data is also important to understand which customers have purchased in the past, and which customers are your top buyers. This enables you to specifically target them with promotions to help get stock out the door faster.
For manufacturing businesses, understanding cost of sale is particularly critical to success. You need to be instantly account for changes in shipping fees, for example, so that you’re always selling your products or manufacturing your goods at a profitable level. Profit is key.
This means knowing exactly what items you need to produce something, how much it costs to produce it (while taking into account all of the hidden costs such as labour and so on) and how much you should sell it for.
To do this, you need the right technology. You can’t rely on a manual process to work it out, as it’s simply not fast enough or accurate enough. This where an intelligent ERP system becomes vital. With real-time data, you can instantly account for every element, even as costs move, and ensure the right cost of sale.
Demand forecasting is all about being able to track customer trends and demand, so you can pivot and stay relevant. Supply chain businesses need to be able to keep their finger on the pulse when it comes to their customers. Where exactly is the demand going now?
Many supply chain businesses, especially those in manufacturing and distribution, were able to pivot quite quickly by producing hand sanitisers, masks and so on. They ensured that they had stock that they could sell to continue running their business. By staying relevant, you can ensure the survival and prosperity of your business into the future.
Advanced technology, combining AI, machine learning and automation, is going to transform and future-proof supply chain businesses. Businesses can no longer afford to waste money on manual processes or low-value tasks, they need to be able to adapt, pivot and become efficient. This means gaining visibility across their entire operations in a timely manner, and accessing data on-the-go.
Cloud-based ERP delivers this and helps businesses maintain flexibility with their operating model. Manufacturers can easily look at new ways to sell their products by going direct to consumer and connecting an eCommerce platform to their finance and inventory system.
Compared to on-premise servers, a cloud-based system also enables remote working, introducing flexibility within the workplace. This helps ensure compliance with hygiene and social distancing protocols, and maintaining safe working conditions, while a business can be run at its most efficient and profitable state.