Optimise your supply chain with operational intelligence
By Thabo Ndlela
EVERY company in the supply chain is continually being challenged to deliver operations in the most effective and cost-efficient manner. The prospect of cuts to budgets puts greater emphasis on using the supply chain to reduce costs and enhance value.
The good news is that many successful organisations have shown that it is possible to make cost savings of up to 20% while operating a world-class supply chain. With the latest enterprise technology, these organisations have reduced the total purchasing cost of materials, controlled their stock levels, accelerated fulfilment while lowering overhead costs, and optimised their delivery performance.
The route to achieving these goals is Enterprise Operational Intelligence technology, which can make something useful of the wealth of big data from the Internet of Things, enterprise resource planning and other data sources across the supply chain. We can create a real-time map of the entire supply chain and link it to enterprise software to monitor processes via key performance indicators to deliver on strategic goals.
Actionable operational intelligence
You need to have an integrated real-time overview of the business to inform actions that reduce costs and enhance value. Typically, in the past, that sort of actionable intelligence wasn’t available until some predefined point – a two-week, monthly or even yearly report. With real-time access to data, however, you can make decisions that affect current operations rather than the end of the week or even later.
An Enterprise Operational Intelligence platform provides functionality for numerous aspects of the end-to-end operations, including real-time analytics, dynamic forecasting, workflow management, process management, risk and compliance. Raw transactional data from IT systems is consolidated into a single dynamic management layer, providing powerful situation awareness.
On top of that you can build a performance-based logistics (PBL) solution incorporating a number of the following elements:
- Contract for supportability and availability
- Connect processes, performance and risk
- Connect all parties in the supply chain through cockpits
- Connect KPIs, workflows and reports to your strategy
- Align global sourcing strategies
- Eliminate waste within your supply chain
- Implement supply chain performance management techniques
- Achieve transparency of inventory levels
- Measure and manage all costs together
A single version of the truth
Connected management cockpits are designed to deliver one version of the organisational truth. With an integrated environment you can have all the information you need presented in a clear, role-based way. Users can see clear visualisations allowing them to anticipate, control and react to changing demands. It also enables collaboration across the supply chain and other business functions, such as finance, which drives efficiencies.
By connecting your existing IT source systems, you can make changes to processes without making manual, time-consuming costly changes to underlying ERP and other source systems. This ability provides leading organisations with the much-needed agility to deliver at lower cost without affecting capability to enhance the value they provide.
Ndlela is non-executive Director of IFS South Africa. IFS™ is a globally recognized leader in developing and delivering enterprise software for enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM) and enterprise service management (ESM). Founded in 1983, IFS bring customers in targeted sectors closer to their business, helps them be more agile and prepare for what’s next in their industry. IFS’s 2 800 employees support more than 1 million users worldwide from its network of local offices and through a growing ecosystem of partners.
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