With supply chains becoming more complex and new disruption risks having the potential to bring entire industries to a halt, manufacturers and distributors will need to respond to these new global realities through a combination of integrated supply chain software tools and new distribution strategies.
In order to compete in today's increasingly intricate global manufacturing network, suppliers and logistics can mitigate supply chain risks by providing enhanced operational flexibility. According to what sales professional Gursh Atwal wrote recently in Supply Chain Digital, supply chain management will need to reexamine the facility's role to include multi-functionality with multiple workflow strategies. One of the ways to accomplish this paradigm shift will be through the use of advanced data collection software to manage the various operations within a single facility.
"[Supply chain] software solutions must be capable of managing the different workflows within the warehouse, directing resources based on priorities, facilitating sophisticated packing operations and supporting a comprehensive returns process," said Atwal.
The returns process has received increased scrutiny from supply chain analysts in recent years, as the diffusion of global sourcing strategies has propelled the need for improvements in reverse logistics. Reverse logistics - a term used among retail, manufacturing and distribution industries - is defined by Business Dictionary as "the flow of surplus or unwanted material, goods, or equipment back to a facility through its logistics chain for reuse, recycling or disposal." As suppliers and distributors seek higher quality output of products and cheaper sourcing materials, reverse logistics and the backward flow of goods is fast becoming a vital process in the global supply chain cycle.
Whether for managing various operations within a facility or coordinating the flow of goods throughout an extended supply chain, intelligent supply chain software is more than ever before a critical component for manufacturers and distributors seeking to enhance the speed and quality of its processes.