Confined to the Factory Floor: an Unacceptable Constraint in the Global Supply Chain

3 minute read

Upland Admin

ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems provide built-in work flows to control different tasks within an organization. For years that was sufficient as many manufacturers operated a single plant within four walls with a finite number of suppliers. Confined to the factory floor is a constraint that renders many technology solutions impotent in a global supply chain.

Managing beyond the four walls is one of the most important selection criteria of demand driven supply chain technology solutions.  Some of the new solutions providers in this space are using the old ERP paradigm or scheduling-based dated technologies which are inferior, inadequate, and do not allow companies to control work flows beyond their organization.

A typical purchase order is an open loop process.

Ultriva converts it into a closed loop process by establishing work flow items on the order acceptance, order shipments, incoming inspections, material put away, material movement, and closing the purchase order.  No other solution offers this vital metric. During these work flows, only Ultriva keeps track of who did what and when. This level of audit trail eliminates the need for email, telephone, or fax, except in the case of extreme exceptions.

Eliminating redundant email with Demand Driven Supply Chain Work Flows

These closed loops create the kinds of work flows which facilitate cross-business (outside the four walls) iterative process like reschedules, approvals, and rejects without the need for multiple email communications

Only Ultriva allows configurable work flows. A user can configure certain parts to go through inspection and put away, while allowing others to only be put away on receipt at dock. In other situations, some parts can be configured and directly moved to on-hand upon completion of receipt transaction.

By extending workflows into supplier tasks, the application could be configured for “Auto Acknowledgement” of purchase orders; alternatively manufacturers might choose to configure the goods waiting for consolidation into a container, or configure the supplier to print a master label for the pallet or truck load.

Built-in work flows allow an iterative approval process for reschedules and changes to purchase orders.  Changes requested by the buyer or supplier will automatically wait in queue for the other party to respond. Similar work flows for inspection approvals and rejections can also be configured.

The exponential growth in SKUs is directly correlated by the global supply chain and suppliers utilized.  The communication dynamic required for clear lines of communication beyond the four walls of one plant seem rudimentary.  Sadly without knowing the fundamental necessity of work flows outside the shop floor, reputable and decent operations managers and C-level executives are being misled by the claims of some new players in the demand driven supply chain technology space.

See more about how to successfully collaborate beyond the four walls of your business in our white paper: Beyond Four Walls – Lean’s Next Frontier.

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