Periods of rapid growth can stretch the operational capacity of a supply chain network. As production and shipment demands increase, a manufacturer's available resources and manpower can quickly prove to be insufficient. Under these conditions, it can be difficult for supervisors to maintain visibility within the warehouse and properly track shipments and inventory movements. On the enterprise scale, business leaders may be unable to monitor the everyday operations of their manufacturing firm, increasing the risk that errors will be made, inventory misplaced and shipments delayed. Supply chain management software outfitted with data capture features can help manufacturers retain and even enhance their monitoring capabilities as operations ramp up and warehouse activity becomes hectic.
The North American auto industry could benefit from the integration of a sophisticated supply chain management solution, as production has increased significantly in recent months. According to Crain's Detroit Business, auto parts manufacturers scaled back their production levels during the latest recession, leaving the industry's supply chain networks unprepared to cope with the recent increase in demand. Industry members expressed concern that delays along the continental supply chain could disrupt operations for numerous enterprises.
"We're looking down that supply chain to the Tier 2, 3 and 4 companies and doing our own assessments on those suppliers," Bill Wardle, vice president of sales and marketing for interiors, exteriors and seating at Magna International, told the news outlet. "We want to make sure that one particular widget isn't being sourced to one company in Toledo, for instance, that would end up being a bottleneck for everyone."
IT solutions provide greater oversight
Gaining control of frenetic supply chain activity in the modern manufacturing industry requires the implementation of a quality IT solution that will facilitate enterprise monitoring. Manufacturing Business Technology contributor Mark Davidson explained that there are several methodologies manufacturers can use to approach their software needs, including a top-down strategy. He stated that this method involves the integration of IT solutions with existing ERP systems. By doing so, employees can share information from numerous networks and file systems across the entire enterprise. This way, business leaders can remotely view warehouse activity and quickly identify any pain points that may eventually lead to bottlenecks.
"One of the largest advantages of this approach is the master data consistency that it allows the business, as well as the opportunity to have strong integration/enforcement between business and manufacturing processes," Davidson wrote. "Additionally, an ERP-centric manufacturing IT structure allows for a combination of business and manufacturing intelligence, requires fewer IT suppliers and points of enterprise application integration that require management."