6 Ways Quality Can Strengthen Supply Chain Profitability

To thrive in today’s competitive global business environment, manufacturers must have a top-to-bottom quality-oriented approach that infuses innovative thinking into every part of the supply chain in order to deliver world-class performance through products, processes and people.

Some promising news, according to a recently published report by Forbes Insights and ASQ, is that senior executives and quality professionals see a direct connection between the success of their continuous improvement initiatives and the success of their organizations as a whole.

The Forbes Insights/ASQ research surveyed 1,869 executives and quality professionals from around the world and focused on the links between quality efforts and corporate performance, as well as the evolving business value of quality and its relationship to the supply chain. Thirty-six percent of enterprises surveyed said that they regard themselves as an established quality organization, while 39% reported that they are still developing their quality programs and 25% said they are struggling to implement quality in their companies.

For those organizations that do have established quality programs, more than half say their initiatives already encompass a range of key corporate functions, including operations and supply chain management.

This focus on quality for the supply chain is especially crucial when one recognizes that supply chain management is often motivated to achieve the least cost when identifying and qualifying new suppliers. Supply chain leaders are often rewarded for these cost-savings. But then extra costs are incurred once the final product is manufactured and delivered and it is discovered that reworks are required due to the focus on price and not quality.

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New Risks Jolt Commodities Supply Chain

The challenges facing the commodities sector have multiplied as corporations worry much more about compliance and reputational risks. Checking suppliers and, in turn their own suppliers, require new mechanisms and collaboration. Historically, large purchasers of raw materials worried foremost about price volatility and diversity of suppliers, either to meet financial projections or to avoid business interruptions.

Today, corporations must also worry that they are not unwitting participants in violating economic sanctions or tax fraud, or whether their goods are identified as coming from undesirable suppliers. Given the already complex nature of products, the impenetrable thickets of regulation and the threat from activists ready to lay siege via lawsuit or social media, these compliance and reputational risks add to a vastly increased burden faced by commodities firms.

“Clearly companies have a handle on financial risks, but if they’re operating in emerging markets they’re dealing with multiple issues,” says Mr Talib Dhanji, a partner at EY and leader of the firm’s commodities practice. “The key is to be on top of the different ways that people can commit fraud.”

Quality controls

Trading firms have a somewhat different set of risks from their industrial customers, because many firms do not take physical possession of the goods in question; they only trade futures and hedging instruments with other firms or customers. The frauds they might encounter, then, are more about unreliable promises than contaminated goods.

“Just because you get a nicely published document, that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate,” Mr Dhanji says. “You’ve got to have the right quality controls in place.” Trading firms are better positioned to put those controls in place, both because they face heavy oversight from the US and European regulators, and because the thin profit margins in commodities can mean severe financial pain if they fall victim to unscrupulous dealers.

A delivery that turns out not to meet specifications on quality, place of origin, or volume, for example, might mean a hedging instrument based on that shipment is invalid or insurers would not cover the loss. That threat tends to focus the trader’s mind.

Public scrutiny

Corporations that consume raw materials are in a more difficult spot. They are facing more public scrutiny and regulatory oversight than ever before, and many still do not have the right processes or structures to manage these new commodity risks effectively.

Compliance and reputation risks in the supply chain are different. Instead of a company looking horizontally to find more suppliers of materials, the company must look vertically down to its suppliers, and then their suppliers, and their suppliers, and so forth — all to be sure that no unwanted goods have infiltrated the supply chain at any point.

That requires new mechanisms to confirm the source of commodity goods, as well as new collaboration among treasury, risk, procurement, and compliance departments to do the task well.

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How visibility can drive supply chain performance

How visibility can drive supply chain performance

At its heart, supply chain management requires a balancing of operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and quality. Managing the true cost to serve each and every order is the aspiration to allow better negotiation and value creation across the supply chain. Customer and consumer centricity helps anticipate product and service requirements. But supply chains are becoming more extended and complex with a consequent increase in risk and the need for resilience. There are multiple data sources making it difficult to manage and measure end-to-end processes and metrics. Aligning priorities through integrated planning remains pivotal but there is an explosion of data available that needs to be incorporated and the value extracted to understand how supply-demand issues impact profit and revenue targets.

Organisations are looking to enable better and more consistent decision-making across complex processes with diverse systems and data. Many are leveraging business intelligence (BI) platforms to give them the capability to make decisions across the organisation, including environments where mobility and access to decision-critical information on the go is crucial. Putting the information in the hands of the people on the front line – those managing supply chain processes – is key to enabling decision making at the point of decision. But this requires synchronising an enormous amount of data that comes from many systems and sources in a way that it can be easily consumed by people who need to act on the insights.

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Close the Loop on Supply Chain Risk: 5 Strategies to Move Product, Boost Sales and Automate Efficiency

Supply chain management is a critical function for any small to mid-sized business. Yet, too often companies rely on spreadsheets to manage supply chain activities — a risky prospect that’s labor-intensive and error-prone.

A better option is to bring these activities into your financial management or ERP system. Centralizing tasks such as order filling, inventory management and delivery tracking can positively impact sales, improve cash flow and keep you tax compliant.

Here are five ways that ERP supply chain management benefits your bottom line.

Right-sized Inventory

Getting inventory right can be tricky: too low, you risk losing customers; too high and you’re left holding the bag, so to speak.

Control Quality

Dealing with defective materials or products can be a drain on your business. Not only can it hurt sales, but it can also damage your reputation.

Optimize Shipping

Web sales have made fast, affordable shipping a must-do for all businesses. Keeping track of goods coming and going can become burdensome, not to mention the hassle of dealing with lost or late shipments.

Improve Cash Flow

Invoicing practices can greatly impact your cash flow. Moving from a manual process to automation allows you to process invoices faster and shorten the order-to-cash cycle.

Be Compliant

Navigating complex and ever-changing trade and tax rules can be daunting. Being part of a supply chain compounds that risk.

 

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10 ways big data is revolutionising supply chain management

Big data is providing supplier networks with greater data accuracy, clarity, and insights, leading to more contextual intelligence shared across supply chains.

Forward-thinking manufacturers are orchestrating 80% or more of their supplier network activity outside their four walls, using big data and cloud-based technologies to get beyond the constraints of legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) systems. For manufacturers whose business models are based on rapid product lifecycles and speed, legacy ERP systems are a bottleneck. Designed for delivering order, shipment and transactional data, these systems aren’t capable of scaling to meet the challenges supply chains face today.

Choosing to compete on accuracy, speed and quality forces supplier networks to get to a level of contextual intelligence not possible with legacy ERP and SCM systems. While many companies today haven’t yet adopted big data into their supply chain operations, these ten factors taken together will be the catalyst that get many moving on their journey.

The ten ways big data is revolutionising supply chain management include:

  1. The scale, scope and depth of data supply chains are generating today is accelerating, providing ample data sets to drive contextual intelligence.
  2. Enabling more complex supplier networks that focus on knowledge sharing and collaboration as the value-add over just completing transactions.
  3. Big data and advanced analytics are being integrated into optimisation tools, demand forecasting, integrated business planning and supplier collaboration & risk analytics at a quickening pace.
  4. Big data and advanced analytics are being integrated into optimisation tools, demand forecasting, integrated business planning and supplier collaboration & risk analytics at a quickening pace.
  5. Using geoanalytics based on big data to merge and optimise delivery networks.
  6. Big data is having an impact on organizations’ reaction time to supply chain issues (41%), increased supply chain efficiency of 10% or greater (36%), and greater integration across the supply chain (36%).
  7. Embedding big data analytics in operations leads to a 4.25x improvement in order-to-cycle delivery times, and a 2.6x improvement in supply chain efficiency of 10% or greater.
  8. Greater contextual intelligence of how supply chain tactics, strategies and operations are influencing financial objectives.
  9. Traceability and recalls are by nature data-intensive, making big data’s contribution potentially significant.
  10. Increasing supplier quality from supplier audit to inbound inspection and final assembly with big data.

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Visibility Is Key when Driving Supply Chain Performance

At its heart, supply chain management requires a balancing of operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and quality. Managing the true cost to serve for each and every order is the aspiration to allow better negotiation and value creation across the supply chain. Customer- and consumer-centricity helps anticipate product and service requirements. Supply chains are becoming more extended and complex with a consequent increase in risk and the need for resilience. There are multiple data sources making it difficult to manage and measure end-to-end processes and metrics. Aligning priorities through integrated planning remains pivotal, but there is an explosion of data available that needs to be incorporated and the value extracted to understand how supply and demand issues impact profit and revenue targets.

New technology provides greater supply chain transparency. Strategic supplier engagement continues to be important as a way of reducing costs and mitigating risk. Effective supply chain management can be either a compelling competitive differentiator or, conversely, a source of risk, cost and poor customer service.

Organizations are looking to enable better and more consistent decision-making across complex processes with diverse systems and data. Many are leveraging business intelligence (BI) platforms to give them the capability to make decisions across the organization, including environments in which mobility and access to decision-critical information on the go is crucial. Putting the information in the hands of the people on the front line—those managing supply chain processes—is key to enabling decision-making at the point of decision. But this requires synchronizing an enormous amount of data that comes from many systems and sources in a way that it can be easily consumed by people who need to act on the insights.

Read more at Visibility Is Key when Driving Supply Chain Performance

What do you think is important in Supply Chain Performance Management? Share your opinions with us in the comment box.

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Visibility Is Key when Driving Supply Chain Performance

At its heart, supply chain management requires a balancing of operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and quality. Managing the true cost to serve for each and every order is the aspiration to allow better negotiation and value creation across the supply chain. Customer- and consumer-centricity helps anticipate product and service requirements. Supply chains are becoming more extended and complex with a consequent increase in risk and the need for resilience. There are multiple data sources making it difficult to manage and measure end-to-end processes and metrics. Aligning priorities through integrated planning remains pivotal, but there is an explosion of data available that needs to be incorporated and the value extracted to understand how supply and demand issues impact profit and revenue targets.

New technology provides greater supply chain transparency. Strategic supplier engagement continues to be important as a way of reducing costs and mitigating risk. Effective supply chain management can be either a compelling competitive differentiator or, conversely, a source of risk, cost and poor customer service.

Organizations are looking to enable better and more consistent decision-making across complex processes with diverse systems and data. Many are leveraging business intelligence (BI) platforms to give them the capability to make decisions across the organization, including environments in which mobility and access to decision-critical information on the go is crucial. Putting the information in the hands of the people on the front line—those managing supply chain processes—is key to enabling decision-making at the point of decision. But this requires synchronizing an enormous amount of data that comes from many systems and sources in a way that it can be easily consumed by people who need to act on the insights.

Read more at Visibility Is Key when Driving Supply Chain Performance

What do you think about this topic? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box.

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