The pandemic was certainly a catalyst for recent disruptions in supply chains, but it is not the only reason. Global supply chains have been further disrupted by long-standing supply chain weaknesses like outdated supply chain strategies, port infrastructure, and the effects of natural disasters and wars. Manufacturers and distributors are faced with constant disruptions and must quickly address the needs of customers and suppliers, as well as those of their employees.
Organizations need to be able to control their supply chains and remain competitive in today's business environment. This is due to constant change, shorter product lives, and higher demand uncertainty. Data analytics can be used to address challenges using reliable data from ERP distributors and manufacturers.
Here are some ways ERP can help your company gain control over operations and improve customer service
1. To maintain a competitive advantage, visibility into the supply chain is key
Distributors and manufacturers need to ensure that the right products and materials are at the right place at right time. They also need to budget for them appropriately and replenish them as necessary. They need to have a live picture of every part of the supply chain to do this. New Arion ERP research reveals that 47% of respondents invested in sensors, IoT, or IIoT to collect and respond to supply chain disruptions. However, only 20% invested in data analytics tools to analyze and process the data, and only 5% looked into AI and ML to gain any long-term benefits from data collection. Businesses are unable to understand the effects of all factors on daily business activities and to deal with demand and supply shocks without the right data insight.
A business ERP solution with the right planning tools, predictive analytics, and integrated data across the company gives manufacturers and distributors the ability to see the whole picture and respond effectively to any risks. This allows organizations to have control over their supply chains and gain a competitive advantage. For example, they can adjust the price to meet demand or increase the margins to sell a product that is in high demand but has limited supplies.
2. Collaboration for transparency & profitability
Arion ERP's research further revealed that 60% of businesses cannot engage in real-time communication with suppliers and customers. Although customer engagement and collaboration remain a problem, only 44% have systems that enable them to collaborate effectively with customers and suppliers. The traditional linear supply chain model is a contributing factor in ongoing supply chain disruptions. Each step depends on the next. Inefficiencies at one step can lead to inefficiencies further down the chain. It's easy for customers and suppliers to be located at different ends of the chain. This makes it difficult to observe how collaboration is broken down and almost impossible to have end-to-end visibility. It is difficult for procurement teams to identify which suppliers, customers, and parts are at risk. It's therefore extremely difficult to find new suppliers in a timely fashion.
Manufacturers and distributors have the opportunity to connect, communicate, and engage with their colleagues, suppliers, and customers through a portal or portal dashboard that is enabled by an ERP system. This allows them to manage and integrate data and gives them the flexibility and control they need to meet changing demands.
3. Future success through digitalization
Distributors and manufacturers should now be looking at digital solutions to adapt to changes in their supply chains. A survey from Arion ERP revealed that 51% of manufacturing CFOs intend to invest in technology automation and machinery, while 61% believe predictive models that are supported by meaningful measurement, reporting, and modeling are necessary to keep the business competitive. Companies can transform their operations with digital technologies. Digital transformation is for distributors and manufacturers. It involves using technologies such as analytics, robotics, IoT, and AI to collect, process, and automate information and processes that drive operational excellence.
While ERP is essential for digital transformation, organizations also need a clear digital strategy that integrates with their supply chain strategy. To ensure that digital transformation is successful, it is important to work with industry experts and trusted advisors.