Many people are crossing their fingers that COVID is over soon, or at least winding down. This includes plenty of overworked medical professionals and consumers tired of the rules of going places with masks and vaccine cards.
But while there are encouraging signs that the actual pandemic part might be slowing down, there are other indications that some of the economic disruptions may be sticking around longer.
This is especially true on the supply chain side, where “the new normal” has come to mean delayed shipments, some companies shutting down, others pivoting to focus on more profitable products or services, less inventory, fewer workers, and higher prices.
So how do we get this part unsnarled? That’s the big question facing manufacturers, distributors and consumers alike in 2022 and beyond.
One way companies can do their part is by focusing on improving their own organization and processes, starting with moving their operations to a cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning solution. This provides the opportunity for employees to connect better, especially if the workforce is now scattered/remote due to COVID protocols.
How about, instead of bringing everyone back to the office and trying to achieve “how it used to be,” companies adapt to enterprise networks? This makes it easy for the staff to securely share data about all of its projects, from wherever they’re logging in from. These systems also make it easy to check the status of orders and inventory, including what items might be on back order.
Now that “supply chain issues” have become a legitimate factor in operational planning, agile companies can start to anticipate where delays might be taking place and then plan alternatives.
Even if your organization has tried ERPs in the past or still use a system that worked well in the past but may be showing its age, it might be worth another look today, especially if a consultant can provide better guidance on new features and better tools. Improvements have been made in many areas, including easier remote access, stronger security, and real-time reporting.
Some of the other ways a new or upgraded ERP system like Acumatica can help your organization avoid or mitigate supply chain delays include:
Better Ways to Make Decisions
With greater ability to track data from different departments, including useful KPIs, it’s easier for decision-makers to identify and study relevant info, discuss it, and then make decisions. They can react faster at early warnings of possible product disruptions or expected inventory shortages. More people can provide input as well, to avoid top-down decisions.
Many businesses who try to follow pre-COVID/traditional evaluation processes may take longer to gather all numbers from all of the different divisions, get them to a central source, and then discuss. An ERP system can provide the opportunity for everyone to study different indicators simultaneously and then collectively take action faster. This can give a more agile company a better competitive advantage, especially in circumstances where there might be truly finite amounts of a certain necessary product available.
Faster Identification of Upcoming Challenges
Being able to see and analyze market data in real time, including vital KPIs like order fill rate and cost of goods sold, can make it easier to seek alternative solutions faster if it appears that an obstacle is emerging. For instance, during the initial paper product shortage at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, some companies found other suppliers, some were willing to pay more for limited amounts, some advised their customers what was happening, and some made future orders. Many were caught off guard, including the paper companies and paper mills, but now it’s a good best practice to anticipate these swift supply/demand cycles. Companies can even make sure that they have certain vital items stockpiled or backup suppliers – or backups of their backups.
To keep from numbing people by giving them so many numbers their eyes cross, many ERP systems make it easier to see and make sense of common metrics. This makes it easier to pull out the most useful details like current inventory, pending shipments, raw materials, and production schedules. Alerts can also be provided for factors like significant shipping delays, weather-related impact, labor strikes or other items that could impact dates. Priority items can also be highlighted. These fields can also be easily shared, and also everyone with access can provide input. All of this information can keep everyone up to speed, rather than waiting for less frequent summaries. These fields can also be customized to let more people in the loop, such as customers wanting to track their orders.
MIBAR Can Help
The great supply chain disruption is forcing organizations and industries to adopt new tools and processes that help leaders react to and anticipate changes. Businesses that adopt cloud-based ERP solutions, like Acumatica Cloud ERP, will be more resilient and agile during ongoing and future supply chain disruptions.
As a leading Acumatica partner, MIBAR helps companies work smarter and grow faster with cloud ERP. With our 30 years of experience in transforming businesses, we are excited to help you meet your supply chain challenges head on. Watch our Acumatica demo to learn more.