Supply chain professionals are becoming the new unsung heroes of the corporations they work for, and given the demands of global commerce, it's no surprise. In a blog post on LinkedIn, Yossi Sheffi, professor of Engineering Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said there are very few industries can survive without a strong supply chain. He explained supply chain management is now becoming the competitive differentiator for some of the most successful companies.
E-commerce is certainly high on the list of factors that have led to this change. Big data has also removed the silos that once existed between an enterprise's offices and plants, revealing the importance of the supply chain. Consumers have also lifted up the role of the supply chain manager by taking an increased interest in how their products are made and where they are from.
However, the ability to deliver outstanding customer service is at the heart of the supply chain manager's rise over the last decade. While new products come out almost daily, the ability to deliver them in a timely and accurate manner depends almost entirely on the intelligence and agility of the supply chain, especially in a global market. When the only true interaction consumers may have with a company is opening the box when it arrives on their doorsteps, quality and accuracy become the most significant factors of a job well done in the eyes of the consumer.
Using Data Collection To Improve Supply Chain Management
The same trends that have made the supply chain manager such a key player are also spurring the need for new technology at manufacturing plants and distribution warehouses. To deliver on the promise to give companies a competitive edge with more a powerful supply chain requires data collection that can keep up with demand.
Automated data collection that captures information in real time and populates in existing ERP systems connects the supply chain to the warehouse and allows its role in customer satisfaction to increase. The data collected in the warehouse or on the shop floor can be used in other departments throughout the company to learn more about the inner workings of the business. Likewise, the information can be used within the supply chain to analyze and improve various processes and procedures.