Lean In: Three Power Moves for your Supply Chain

Amar Kulkarni
By: Amar Kulkarni
Date: February 13, 2017

As manufacturing regulations increase, organizations, now more than ever, should be looking for opportunities to lean their supply chain. The first step to creating a leaner supply chain system is to take an overall view of every link in the system’s chain and analyze its current status quo and how it can be improved. Following these power moves can assist in improving your supply chain:

Take a customer-centric approach

Companies are always trying to find a happy medium between low unit costs and low overstock numbers. If manufacturing commits to large production numbers that lowers costs-per-unit but are not immediately tied to customer demand, it becomes difficult to meet customer preferences as those needs change, often leaving organizations tied to old inventory.

When manufacturing numbers are tied to sales projections, companies lessen their overstock and have more flexibility to shift as customer demands change. Using technology that streamlines supply chain processes and enables data capture, ensures products are available at the shelf when and where a customer wants to buy it while keeping overstock low.

Give suppliers access to your systems

Streamlining supply chain processes starts with customer demand and extends all the way to supply chain partners. The greatest bottleneck to improved supply chain efficiency is often the disconnect between internal scheduling processes and those of external suppliers. When suppliers have access to production numbers and needs in real time, they have the ability to prepare their own schedule accordingly. The goal is to eliminate the manual communication delays with possible outdated or incorrect information in interfacing with your suppliers.

Get demand forecasting right

Disregarding the importance of demand forecasting is one of the most basic mistakes in creating a lean supply chain. Accurate demand forecasting data lays the basic foundation for a stable supply chain to effectively meet customer demands. A forecasting and planning solution eliminates human error and personal goals, such as the sales team erring on the side of optimism to avoid risk of demand spiking and stock running out. A technology-based solution takes in many factors the human eye may miss to give precise data.

With help from industry-based technology and dedicated implementation partners, enterprise software can support and streamline your lean efforts. Organization-wide visibility is key in creating and maintaining lean supply practices.

Amar Kulkarni is vice president manufacturing at Avaap. Amar works with processors to implement Infor M3, PLM and other Infor software solutions, helping them stay current with industry trends, compliance changes and opportunities that bring best practice processes to manufacturing organizations.

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