The Cloud Can Make Supply Chain Smarter

3 minute read

Upland Admin

Not much has changed with Supply Chain Management in the last two decades. MRP and ERP forecasts still rule the roost. When Supply Chain initiatives are undertaken, they usually involve improving the forecast.

However, MRP and ERP systems are data intensive and require timely and stable sales. Today’s uncertain economic environment coupled with global supply risks, most supply chain professionals augment their forecast runs with spreadsheets. MRP forecasts do not quickly reflect changing or canceled orders. Additionally, with the issue of many supply chain groups still not operating on interconnected systems but in silos, many manufacturers or distribution centers do not know how much inventory they are carrying.

Today’s supply chain needs to be more agile and collaborative with suppliers. True supply chain collaboration and end-to-end visibility must turn to the Cloud. A recent report from Accenture Consulting stated that cloud computing provides the foundation that companies need to create vibrant supply chains and helps organizations better deal with volatility.

A cloud supply chain allows better decision-making.
Viewing data in a supplier portal utilizing the cloud allows for a single, real-time view of inventory. Buyers, planners, and suppliers see what stock is on hand as well as real-time consumption. Real-time data is accessible to everyone. All can see what orders have been received, shipped, or in transit. This allows all trading partners to be on the same page, with access to the same tools and platforms. Supply chain managers can make proactive decisions “on the go” instead of waiting for the next MRP run or confirmation email or phone call from a supplier that the purchase order was received and is being filled. The decision-making process improves when all information is accurate and easily accessible by all.

A cloud supply chain mitigates risk.
One of the most important factors today with supply chain risks is the ability to share information collaboratively with outside partners. A cloud-based platform is where all stakeholders can share a common, unified source of information. Risk factors are reduced when continuity of inventory is strengthened.

A cloud supply chain scales easily.
A cloud-based supplier portal allows for an unlimited number of trading partners to access the network. The growing number of SKUs on a factory floor scalability becomes invaluable. Manufacturing facilities using a manual Kanban system increase numbers and Kanban cards when production goes up or product lines become more diverse; this becomes too great to manage. The cloud allows for a closed-loop system so no signal or card is lost or misplaced.

A cloud supply chain increases agility.
Accessing supplier data in real-time will increase supply chain speed and agility. Manufacturers are able to see and quickly react to changing demands or natural disasters that affect global suppliers, keeping inventories at the right level.

A cloud supply chain control costs.
Supply chains operating in the cloud are inexpensive compared to large ERP projects. All partners can join the network with a simple internet connection and terminal. There is no need for a large infrastructure, costly software, or large support from the IT department.

Cloud-based supply chain systems will become commonplace with streamlined processes; increasing efficiency and profitability. Manufacturers’ supply chain working smarter for the supplier and customer.

Learn more about cloud supply chains: Readers can also download “The Case for Cloud-based Supply Chain Management Today.

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