Succeeding with the Cloud’s Speed and Scale
For all manufacturers, recent years show massive upticks in growth. Many were expecting average or slow demand, only to be surprised by the rapid increase in orders and buying activity by existing and new customers. The challenge is managing their supply chains to keep up. Ask a supply chain executive about cloud computing, and they only want to know if it can deliver more speed, scale and accuracy. None of them care about the technology; all they want are results. Cloud applications and platforms are the growth catalysts that will keep improving supply chain performance while catalyzing and fueling global manufacturing growth.
The many functions of cloud based SCM, like accessible supplier notation, make it a highly desirable solution.
Cloud SCM Key Insights
The ten ways cloud computing is revolutionizing supply chain management include the following:
1. Supplier quality management features are delivering real-time updates on the latest inbound shipment inspection and quality levels, making sure the bill of materials (BOM) only defines the highest quality components and raw materials.
Getting a 360-degree view of every quality measurement from start to finish reduces costs and increases customer satisfaction. Cloud SCM software can track and report quality levels by production center, product and customer level. Another benefit of having a cloud-based SCM system is the ability to monitor and trace any assembly, component or subassembly throughout the supply chain in real time. With cloud SCM apps and platforms, quality becomes a more pervasive part of the system of record in any business.
2. Applying cloud-based business analytics and manufacturing intelligence allows manufacturing cycles times to improve.
“Manufacturing cycle time” has to do with the time elapsed between an order’s origination until a product is created and stored in inventory. Making improvements to this valuable manufacturing metric requires consistent and clear data.
Cloud SCM can quickly gather and access data from multiple points across the globe. Without the cloud, sizeable multi-national warehousing operations are stuck operating in accordance with time zones and geographical locations. With cloud computing, any member of any section of the supply chain can access and exchange data with other users. Communication is a fundamental piece of the supply chain, and cloud-computing takes this to the next level.
Improving cycle times starts with knowing why and where delays happen in the manufacturing process. With the real-time applications of the cloud, you can stay at your most competitive. As a product finishes its cycle, the information about its manufacture can lend valuable insight into any possible improvements. Even now, there are SCM software solutions available that provide real-time updates on how a particular product performs and eventually impacts financial results.
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3. Using the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) metric is providing users with the knowledge of which machines and tools are in the best health and if they fit the current production run.
Manual calculation of a machine’s performance and health are time draining practices of the past. With cloud-calculation of OEE, decisions that affect product manufacture can be made quickly from anywhere.
OEE is an invaluable measure of a production machine or tool’s health. It can also be used to measure a product line, production team or an entire production center’s performance. An OEE metric tracks everything you would need to determine a machine’s health, performance and when maintenance is required. This metric, as explained by IQMS, is calculated using a formula that measures availability, performance and quality. Cloud supply chain software allows for the easy gathering and analysis of OEE data. With no borders between the various networks involved, thanks to the cloud, this data can be sent and received from operations across the globe.
4. Scalable cloud-based applications are automating compliance and reporting so that valuable time isn’t lost by manually preparing industry and government filings.
Compliance with the many rules and regulations of various government or industry institutions affects much of a supply chain. These reports require careful input of data and can drastically decrease the productivity of employees tasked with their creation and delivery.
For medical device manufacturers, cloud-based compliance applications remove the burden of spending their valuable associates’ time cataloging records and reporting them. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires that every manufacturer maintain device history records to the batch, lot and unit level. A cloud-based application capable of producing federal device history records (DHR) is a significant time saving and competitive advantage. Medical device manufacturers also need to stay in compliance with Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP), CFR and FDA requirements, as well as ISO 13485 and 9001 standards.
Cloud-based computing, while helpful for all parts of the supply chain, is beneficial to niche providers. Each industry has its own set of regulations in place to ensure safe creation and transport of goods. Without quick access to parts of the supply chain, companies with ties to multiple niche industries would see a slowdown due to time wasted filing these types of reports.
5. Attaining real-time track and traceability performance is becoming more achievable with cloud-based applications that scale across supplier networks.
The more production locations a manufacturer has, the more critical supply chain visibility is to maintaining quality levels and gaining data used for product tracking. Cloud-based track and traceability features save many manufacturers from the variable expenses of a product recall by catching product quality problems early.
As your enterprise thrives, the need for rapid scalability increases. Relying on in-house software can lead to wasted resources when new solutions need to be integrated. If your inventory is growing, you need to meet the scaling challenge as quickly as possible. Taking time out of production, or any part of the supply chain, for new software integration and training can be a drain on valuable resources.
Without the need for new software, inventory errors brought on by a transition vanish. Everything in use before the need to scale up will still be in place. If your supply chain was working before you started to take on inventory, scale up and move on!
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