Supply Chain Integration Methods
RONIN Marketing Limited contributed this piece. For more information, check out www.roninmarketing.co.uk
The case for supply chain integration has never been more compelling for manufacturers. As demand returns, they need to employ every available tool to help them carve a place in the changing industrial world.
Low-cost competitors, higher input prices and the ever-increasing demands of customers all combine to make the supply chain sector more challenging than ever. Accurate information and timely communication have always been viewed as essential; today it is not only vital within the factory walls, but out into the supply chain as well.
However, it is a mantra that many businesses have failed to adopt.
“For many years, people have been talking about joined-up supply chains, but it is still amazing today how few companies have really embraced that,” Neil Rushby, supply chain divisional manager at consultancy-led business software supplier Access, said.
Rushby believes this failure is apparent across the broad spectrum of manufacturing organizations and supply chains, from the smallest to the largest.
Good communication and good service go hand in hand - and manufacturers need both.
“There’s been a move recently for organizations to hold less stock than they used to, which means they are ordering smaller volumes more frequently,” Rushby said.
The result? Even more squeeze on lead times. “So, the more visibility a manufacturer has - from the customer, through the manufacturing business and out to the suppliers - the greater the chance of having stock when it is required to satisfy customer demand,” Rushby said.
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Though the idea of supply chain visibility holds appeal for every manufacturer, the means of realizing it was once a complex - and potentially costly - endeavour. Today, things are very different and the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) supplier will enrich supply chain communication simply, cheaply and efficiently.
“There are many ways to achieve this visibility,” Rushby said. “It’s not as costly as it once was and it is widely accessible. Even at the most basic level, for example, you can take information from the customer and key it into your ERP system.
“That will at least enable you to send reports such as supplier order schedules automatically from the system, to your suppliers.”
And when it comes to electronic input methods, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is no longer the only show in town.
“There are lots of low cost options - email is the obvious one - to transmit and receive files, which can then be imported and/or exported directly from systems,” Rushby explains.
“The email can contain an XML file or it could be used to send an Excel spreadsheet. It’s about the right technology for the right interaction. Supply chain communication is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Each manufacturer has customers of varying complexity and varying technical ability - and it’s the same with their suppliers.”
As Rushby explains, some manufacturers even have suppliers that require faxed orders, so the ERP system has to be able to deliver a faxed delivery schedule.
“It’s important your system has the ability to assign a particular communications format to each supplier or customer, to match the demands of each relationship, however simple or sophisticated,” Rushby said.
“Flexibility is the key. If you send your supplier information that is either not relevant or in the wrong format, they may put your request to one side while they wait for someone to manipulate that data. By the time that happens, the item you need may be out of stock.”
Come back tomorrow for Part Two of Supply Chain Integration!
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
SAP Ariba to digitise procurement for Expo 2020 suppliers
The global trade event, this year hosted in Dubai, was rescheduled from last year and will now take place between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022.
As the event’s Innovative Enterprise Software Partner, SAP Ariba solutions will fully digitise and automate the procure-to-pay lifecycle, providing a streamlined experience for thousands of market leading, global suppliers and strengthening the global supply chain with enhanced transparency and efficiency. The cloud-based platforms operate through on SAP Ariba’s UAE public cloud data centre and connects to the Ariba Network.
Expo 2020 "a long-term investment"
Mohammed AlHashmi, Chief Technology Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said the world trade event is “a long-term investment in the future that aims to enhance opportunities for sustainable business connectivity and growth”, which stretches beyond Expo 2020’s six-month window.
“Our partnership with SAP is an example of what can be achieved with the invaluable support of our technology partners to host one of the most digitally advanced World Expos ever,” he added. “The implementation of SAP Ariba solutions has transformed our end-to-end procure-to-pay cycle and helped set new standards of procurement automation for projects of this scale.”
To date, more than AED 1bn has already been transacted by Expo 2020 suppliers through SAP Ariba. The platform promotes collaborative partnerships and allows registered users to participate in sourcing events, negotiate and initiate contracts, and centralise their invoicing and payments in real time.
Claudio Muruzabal, President of EMEA South, SAP, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai is demonstrating global best practices in digitising its procurement process with SAP Ariba solutions to help gain visibility into its spend, tighten collaboration with its suppliers, and achieve process automation, including completely paperless invoicing.”
About Expo 2020 Dubai
Expo 2020 will take place in Dubai and is the first of the long-running World Expos to be hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia territory. The original World Expo, called the Great Exhibiton, was hosted in 1851 at the Crystal Palace in London, designed as a showcase for the innovations of the Industrial Revolution.
Expo 2020 was originally due to run 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021, but was last year postponed in light of COVID-19 restrictions - though some business has already taken place virtually. The event will place greater emphasis on innovation in sustainable solutions through the Sustainability District, blending technology and culture. It is expected that around 70 per cent of the 25 million attendees will be international visitors.