Paving the Way for Continual Performance Improvement

Supply chain visibility solutions allow for informed decision making through the visibility of information across the total supply chain


Supply chain visibility solutions allow for informed decision making through the visibility of information across the total supply chain. Continual performance improvements are made possible by isolating specific areas for improvement, setting goals and monitoring the effect of implemented changes across the supply chain through cross-functional visibility solutions where the information is built from actionable data.

Continual Improvement Happens in Real-time

The inclusion of supply chain visibility solutions within corporate continual improvement initiatives provides a powerful addition to assess where a company is, and more importantly, where it is going. Objective truth can be found in the reporting of historical information and trends. However, the greatest opportunity for affecting performance measurements is the ability to react on a real-time, day-to-day basis. While some performance measurements may be positively affected through process changes, many operational issues arise on a daily basis that, as a whole, contribute significantly to performance measurements. Preventing or reacting quickly to exceptions within the supply chain provides a significant opportunity to increase efficiencies and reduce cost. Real-time monitoring of the supply chain using a visibility tool provides a convenient, accessible way to stay on top of the current conditions and to provide intervention when needed.

One scenario of an operational situation that occurs on a daily basis is shorted orders. In distribution centers, the optimal sequence of events needed to ship full orders can often be disrupted due to a variety of reasons within a facility. By increasing real-time visibility into conditions that will cause shorted orders, appropriate actions can be taken proactively to avoid the probability of shipping an incomplete order. As a result, continual performance improvement increases over time through a higher percentage of full orders shipped. Taking this example even further, cross-functional supply chain visibility solutions can monitor for possible shorted orders long before the product is received in a distribution center. By monitoring the status of expected shipments into a distribution center, possible delays would be known in advance and reported so that appropriate actions can be taken.

Companies that have incorporated supply chain visibility solutions are already recognizing the benefits that real-time visibility provides and are expanding the use of visibility tools within daily operations. Alerting for exception conditions in a text message, e-mail or phone call proves to be an effective way of reacting quickly to conditions that have already occurred, or to prevent situations before they arise. A strong bond exists between real-time visibility and continual performance improvements through the proactive ability to quickly react to the ever-changing demands and conditions experienced on a day-to-day, real-time basis.

Summary

Leaders in the supply chain industry remain leaders not by maintaining the status quo, but by widening the gap between their company performance and that of their competitors. Successful execution of continual performance improvement initiatives reinforces internal processes and provides incremental performance gains to further strengthen supply chain efficiencies.

Supply chain visibility solutions are an integral partner in achieving continual performance improvement initiatives. Actionable information is critical in increasing the effectiveness of supply chain visibility solutions and should be the basis of strategic and tactical decisions that drive change.

Companies that have adopted supply chain visibility solutions as part of their daily operations recognize the reality that their operations should be flexible enough to adapt to the changing demands of their supply chain. Proactive notification of conditions on a real-time basis leads to increased efficiencies. In addition, supply chain visibility solutions excel at the aggregation of information from disparate systems to provide the ability to analyze key components that comprise a performance measurement. Accurate information leads to the educated determination of root-cause relationships required to implement successful change.

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