Supply chain inefficiencies cost companies billions each year–something today's technology that provides real-time updates and automation can prevent!
Integration Is Key to Supply Chain Optimization
Integration–and "digitizing supply chains" are buzzwords in supply chain management right now. The terms refer to removing siloed operations to ensure faster and smoother operations. Improved and digital connections allow for the continuous flow of data, which reduces the time your team spends on repetitive tasks like data entry, improves data accuracy, and streamlines tasks.
Transportation Management Systems (TMS), or shipping software, integrates business data. Not all TMS solutions are created equal, of course, but ours, as an example, integrates with hundreds of carrier websites and business tools, as well as ERP, warehouse, inventory, ordering, and CRM systems. And once integrations are established, we employ "bi-directional integration," which automatically pulls information from third-party systems (like carriers) and pushes data out to them as well.
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Improve Order Management with Automation
Automation is huge in supply chain management, although many businesses are still slow to take advantage of this game changer. The power and efficiency automation brings in supply chain management is invaluable. Take order management, for example. The right platform can introduce real-time replanning and no-touch order processing. Both of these processes reduce the amount of time your team spends on an order. Real-time replanning automatically adjusts the schedule for any order based on updated data in the system. No-touch processing completes orders seamlessly with no human interaction.
Leverage the Power of Data
Some TMS platforms can give you the advantage of leveraging data the system collects. Data is a powerful tool. It can alert you to broader trends within your supply chain, allowing you to make more informed decisions.
An example might be a supplier whose shipping times keep increasing, indicating a shortage may be occuring. If you notice (or are alerted to) this trend in the data, it’s possible to notify planners and make appropriate changes. The right platform provides continuously updated data, so you are operating with high visibility.
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Real-time updates to planning and advanced notification of shortages or shipping delays showcase the importance of being flexible. With this type of information at hand, you can quickly pivot and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves and keep customers informed to manage expectations and deliver better customer service.
Optimization Can Be Economical
Often upgrade costs and implementation times prevent businesses from implementing technology to optimize supply chains. Perhaps a business requires many customizations and finds that custom-built software takes longer to develop and implement than they want to deal with. There may also be resistance to new technology from employees. Or perhaps a system is overly complicated—A system that’s difficult to learn may not provide the benefits you’re hoping to see.
The good news is that there are many economical options on the market with user-friendly TMS interfaces and robust IT support to handle customizations and training. Implementing powerful supply chain optimization is more accessible and more straightforward than in year's past.
Improve your supply chain efficiency by connecting all your data points - from warehouse functions, to ordering, tracking, and customer management. Digitization through intelligent shipping software helps you automate functions, analyze processes, better connect to carriers, and offer superior customer service.
Learn more in our Guide to Digitizing Logistical Supply Chains.