Web Enabling Supply Chain Management
-- Arthi Ramesh
Traditionally, the phrase Supply Chain Management meant
assembly lines, warehouses, truckers and time sheets. Earlier, manufacturers
had the luxury of taking years to develop, market and sell their products.
Back then, there were few variations in packaging and in the products
In only a few years, the very fundamentals of manufacturing in virtually
every industry has changed. Changes have taken place in the relationships
between producers of primary products, manufacturers and retailers. Companies
are looking at how to provide greater flexibility in moving parts globally.
In a quest for greater efficiency and lower costs, there's been growing
importance given to managing the supply chain effectively for the benefit
of all parties.
The traditional vision of Supply Chain management (SCM) represents only
one dimension of a business environment that is growing increasingly multidimensional.
Modern day Supply Chain Management is the e-commerce of manufacturing.
And the good news is that Supply Chain optimization isn't a big-bang
undertaking like the enterprise resource planning (ERP) installations
of recent years.
Its the "Customer" decade
With the emergence of the Internet, customers seek out specific products
they want at the prices they're willing to pay. Modern supply chains focus
on the customer. Manufacturers need to precisely gauge what a customer
might want, how to package it and where to ship it. There is no such thing
as "one size fits all". When the customer wants a change, they
need to be prepared to shift directions quickly. As a result, business
and manufacturing processes need to be just as agile and scalable. Manufacturers
who do not adopt proven methods to succeed today may be out of business
The Internet supply chain will be a means of communicating and doing
business with suppliers and customers. Fractured, unpredictable supply
chains have become less and less tolerable primarily because customers
will not absorb the associated costs and long lead times. Its important
to bear in mind that the your customer is just a mouse click away from
Enabled supply chains assist companies to optimize business processes
both within and outside the four walls of the enterprise and to more efficiently
deliver the new products customers want, when they want them and where
they want them.
What is SCM?
Supply chain management - delivering the right product to the right place,
at the right time and at the right price - is one of the most powerful
engines of business transformation. It is one of the leading cost saving
and revenue enhancement strategies in use today.
At the end of the continuum of trends that started off from Business
Process Reengineering, Total Quality Management and ERP that have all
addressed only the inner workings of an Organization, SCM aims at integrating
the company's internal systems to those of its suppliers, partners and
Technologies such as the Internet, electronic data interchange, transportation
and warehouse management software, including software that manages plant
scheduling, demand forecasting, procurement, make SCM a versatile strategy
Why e- SCM?
Supply chain has been viewed as an inflexible series of events that somehow
managed to get products out the door. It often involved questionable inventory
forecasts, rigid manufacturing plans and hypothetical shipping schedules.
The Internet has changed all that. It has transformed this old-fashioned
process into something closer to an exact science. An Internet-enabled
supply chain helps companies
- avoid costly disasters
- reduce administrative overhead
- reduce unnecessary inventory (thereby increasing working capital)
- decrease the number of hands that touch goods on their way to the
- eliminate obsolete business processes
- reap cost-cutting and revenue-producing benefits
- speed up production and responsiveness to consumers
- garner higher profit margins on finished goods
Effective integration of an Organizations supply chain can save millions,
improve customer service and reduce inventories.
The key to getting optimum value out of automating your supply chain
is to make sure you have your internal systems working well before you
start extending them out over the Internet.
Here are a few tips to bear in mind while evaluating a
- Get Perspective -One should envision the business as a whole including
its current strategy and where it wants to go. Supply chain strategy
is increasingly being integrated with overall corporate strategy.
- Don't Underestimate Learning Costs - The cost of training people to
use new software should not be underestimated. Sending information around
the world takes lesser time than it takes to get into someone's mind!
- Link to existing architecture - Supply chain applications must link
to existing enterprise resource planning applications. ERP serves as
the nerve center of the organization. Ideally, it should be a single
point of visibility for inventory and order taking.
- And last but not the least, Think Global, Start Local !
The slowdown in the economy has relieved most companies from counterproductive
pressures on their internal operations. The massive pressure to go
'e' has subsided giving organizations time, an asset in extremely
short supply during the frenzy of the late 1990s, to plan their expenses
on e-enablement. Companies can now conduct the critical self-evaluations
of their readiness for electronic commerce that they were previously too
busy to perform.
In short, the external slowdown offers unprecedented opportunities to
develop internal strengths. When the economy turns around, your company
will emerge as a more efficient operation. Give your supply chain a thorough
tune-up by strengthening some basic elements of supply chain management.
In addition to offfering Web Enabling the Supply Chain Management
as a service, we also offer services like Business Process Engineering,
Porting Legacy applications to the web and Enterprise Application Integration.
Please contact us here
for more details.