The increased globalization of the supply chain offers many opportunities for manufacturers and distributors. The global market allows for diversification of an organization's client base, so that if revenue in one market is down, it can be captured in another. New technology also makes it easier to enter emerging markets while still tying new facilities to the parent company.
However, as Manufacturing.net points out, growing opportunities also lead to more challenges. More warehouses in foreign markets means data across the company is more fragmented. Whether the new locations are meant to take advantage of new markets or the cost benefits of outsourcing, keeping manufacturing systems online and accurate is a challenge
New Technology Helps Keep the Supply Chain Linked Up
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so making sure that data can flow freely from remote warehouses is necessary to success in a global supply chain. RFgen's white paper, "Solving the Remote Warehouse Dilemma with High Availability Distributed Solutions," explains how managers can overcome new obstacles:
- Replication techniques: A replicated view is a combination of activity at local warehouse and the enterprise. Local warehouse data is placed into existing ERP systems so that productivity does not come to a halt at one location if another goes down.
- Bucking the single system: Traditionally, IT managers designed and maintained separate warehouse systems for each location. This provides the local facility uptime, but also creates additional points of failure within the system.
Data Collection Must Offer the Supply Chain Real Insights and Solutions
To meet the demands of the global market, Manfacturing.net recommends relying on fast data as opposed to big data. Unlike other businesses, data at distribution and manufacturing firms is most relevant in real time. While big data provides a lot of information, it does not always help improve time-sensitive operations.
One way to improve fast data is with automated data collection solutions. Collecting data in real time throughout the warehouse provides a more accurate picture of how product moves through warehouse and where procedures could be improved.
Mobile data collection solutions take this a step further. Products can be scanned the moment they leave the racks, arrive at assembly or throughout the warehouse by individual workers interacting with them. This provides the most real-time collection and increases the ability to measure the metrics of individual employees and departments.