Neil Murphy, Global VPat ABBYY discusses the seven reason why the supply chain industry should turn to intelligent solutions.
Global epidemics, increasing pressure around carbon emissions, and consumers’ desire for customised products are putting the supply chain under more strain than ever before. As supply chains become more global and more complex as demand grows, processes are becoming increasingly challenging to monitor and optimise. These inefficiencies could do more than just monetary or reputational damage – nowadays, they could impact people’s lives.
Identifying the root cause of inefficiencies can prove extremely difficult without having a comprehensive view of how your business operates. The technologies exist that can enable supply chain leaders to easily identify where bottlenecks are occurring, measure vendor performance, streamline company operations, and enhance profit margins. This is thanks to optimising the order-to-cash process by providing a 360-degree view of all organisational processes in real-time – across disparate back-end systems, departments, teams, and locations. This is critical for the future of supply chains.
According to a Deloitte study, the supply chain ranks as one of the highest priorities for digital transformation investments. However, many organisations have been slow to adopt new technologies. Process analytics platforms are a critical success factor in improving supply chain efficiency, speed and accuracy in a way that siloed, standalone systems cannot. While the opportunities are wide-ranging, there are seven key ways that process intelligence technologies can improve your supply chain operations here and now.
1. Enhance profit margins
Paying invoices on time or early can have substantial cost saving benefits. Timely invoice processing improves discount rates and, depending on the volume and size of the organisation, could result in hundreds of thousands, if not more, in cost savings. For some supply chains, eliminating just one day of invoice processing time can save millions of dollars.
2. Identify the best suppliers
Choosing the right vendors is a crucial component of a successful supply chain. Having a comprehensive view of your processes makes it easy to see which suppliers are the most timely, reliable, and responsive. Process intelligence makes it possible to accurately measure and track vendor performance by monitoring and identifying the following criteria: which vendors are the most effective at fulfilling orders in a timely manner; which vendors are the most accurate; pinpointing vendor issues at their root cause before they spread to other operations; and identifying variations from vendor agreements.
3. Fix process deviations in real-time
Advanced process intelligence tools provide real-time alerts when processes deviate from the “ideal” path. Alerts can be configured for a wide range of scenarios including being notified when an order takes longer than X days to ship out, to being alerted if an invoice takes longer than X weeks to process. These alerts enable organisations to address process inefficiencies and variants immediately, before they become a much more significant – and more costly – concern.
4. Track packages in real-time
Process intelligence platforms provide timely, accurate monitoring of packages along every step from shipment to delivery. These platforms enable supply chain managers to track packages in real-time, estimate transit times, identify delays, allow for real-time intervention, and increase the speed of delivery.
5. Predict future influxes of orders
Neural network-enabled process monitoring offers prescriptive analytics that help make forecasts into the future. Innovative AI technologies identify improvements that are possible and help predict when shipments may delay – as well as predict and improve capacity and planning. Data-driven forecasts enable organisations to minimise safety stock and reduce overhead costs, all with a core focus on improving the supply chain.
6. Reduce bottlenecks
Supply chain processes vary widely. Unexpected influxes of orders, low inventory, shipment delays, distribution system inefficiencies, and a number of other variables can cause inconsistencies in operational performance in ways that affect a company’s bottom line. Obtaining a comprehensive view of your process makes it possible to accurately identify where bottlenecks are occurring, which helps enhance overall profit margins and leads to better customer experience.
7. Improve the cost to complete each process
Sophisticated process intelligence not only effectively monitors the full scope of organisational processes, but it also evaluates the direct cost associated with each process, enabling organisations to strategically improve the cost of completing each individual process.
Not embracing digital innovation in the supply chain is a missed opportunity. For companies looking to succeed in their digital transformation projects, process intelligence solutions can go a long way in creating a more effective, efficient, and ultimately successful supply chain operation. Process intelligence enables supply chain leaders to more strategically cut costs, choose the right vendor partners, improve capacity planning, and streamline workflows, all of which play an important role in helping increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. More than this, they help supply chain leaders prepare for the worst – whatever the next major obstacle might be for global supply chains.
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