In 2014, developing a robust and dependable supply chain is one of the highest priorities for many manufacturers. A recent article for Supply Management emphasized this issue, citing a report developed by Mike Wright, executive director for the automaker Jaguar Land Rover, and commissioned by the Labour Party. The crux of the issue is that a healthy manufacturing environment depends on having numerous domestic suppliers. The online publication explained the benefits of developing an interconnected web of local partners that manufacturers can rely on to create more efficient distribution and receiving channels.
Globalization and Industrialization: An Ongoing Process
Wright's primary argument is that the world is continuing to industrialize in many areas of the globe, moving away from the rudimentary beginnings of the 1900s toward advanced manufacturing. According to the report, manufacturing involves a complex network of processes, not just putting products together and sending them to various delivery points.
Today's businesses need to consider sourcing, design, logistics and upgrading, among a laundry list of others. Advanced manufacturing goes beyond these items, focusing largely on research and development in support of innovative procedures that maximize efficiency and sustainability efforts as businesses create more tech-heavy products. If manufacturers can work with regional suppliers, it's more likely they'll be able to create a resilient and streamlined supply chain. Business owners may face shorter lead times, which helps companies get products to consumers more quickly.
Across the Atlantic, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission is moving beyond proposals to put advanced manufacturing into practice in the Southeastern U.S., explained the Orlando Business Journal. The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center is expected to cost roughly $195 million in construction costs, as MOEDC CEO Rick Weddle compared the facility's scope to Disney World. The focus of the research center is to develop ways to make manufacturing in other countries more cost effective.
Voice Delivers a Stronger Supply Chain
In preparation for many of the advances in manufacturing processes, it's important for organizations to develop strong distribution channels, especially as they integrate data collection systems. For instance, a Vocollect white paper investigated the role of voice in automated data collection at distribution centers. The wholesale pharmaceutical distributor Smith Drug Company installed the Vocollect system, which included equipment, software and voice dialogs. After integrating the data collection solution, the company saw a sustained rise in productivity of 20 percent.
At the same time, Smith Drug Company has experienced delivery accuracy rates of nearly 100 percent. Since it implemented the solution, the enterprise has been able to ship about 80,000 units of product from its distribution centers, explained Randy McConnell, director of information systems. Accordingly, the pharmaceutical organization achieved return on investment within six months of deployment. The voice-optimized solution allows employees to speak order data into a portable device, which creates an accurate hands-free and eyes-free system.
Additional benefits for Smith Drug Company included more satisfied customers because they don't have to deal with delivery inaccuracies. What's more, deliveries can remain on schedule, which means employees don't have to work overtime to meet deadlines.
Going a step further, the RFgen-Vocollect Voice Solution enables manufacturers to integrate their voice-enabled data collection activities with their back-end ERP systems. With this solution, a distribution center can be operational - with voice fully integrated into the ERP workflows - in a matter of just a few weeks, without making changes to the existing ERP system or needing much support from your IT department.