Companies across most major industries continue to feel the effects of the recent pandemic in several significant ways. Of course, some of the most talked about aspects of returning to relative normality have involved the perceived impact of remote and hybrid work concerning productivity and workplace well-being; however, more pressing concerns are beginning to surface.
Recently published data has shown that as many as 80% of modern businesses have experienced some degree of supply chain disruption in the last 12 months, with contributing factors ranging from rising geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainties, and logistics backlogs stemming from relatively recent lockdowns, leaving management teams scrambling to locate reliable and effective solutions.
In many cases, IT professionals and CTOs are being asked to optimize their systems to make more efficient use of limited resources to keep vital operations moving forward. But as many may expect, this process is often more complicated than management teams would like to believe.
Complicated, though not impossible, here’s how IT professionals and CTOs can learn to navigate pressing supply chain issues with the assistance of smart resource management and optimization.
Real-time inventory monitoring
With many international companies facing significant delays in the sourcing and procurement of essential manufacturing resources, it’s perhaps more important than ever that businesses implement reliable inventory management systems designed to ensure that active stock levels will remain satisfactory.
Data published in 2020 found that as many as 88% of US-based companies were still relying on at least one manual or rule-based process intended to oversee the management of active inventory monitoring and fulfillment systems, offering very little protection in response to resource scarcity.
IT professionals are well-positioned to spare businesses from such issues through the implementation of real-time inventory monitoring software, platforms designed to ascribe unique identifying data to all stored resources and programmed to automatically alert teams if levels fall below a certain threshold.
Integrating such systems into a business’s existing infrastructure can be as simple as linking already present barcode data to live inventory management software, with the platform able to instantly update relevant inventory information as products are unloaded and processed via scanning hardware, and admins updated remotely if the network has been linked to a secure cloud-based management system.
Make-to-stock (MTK) workflows
A further way to optimize resource management through the use of smart software systems is to pivot manufacturing operations towards a make-to-stock workflow. Here, rather than continually producing inventory on the basis that sales will likely remain steady, software developers are able to create live data-based omnichannel programs designed to manage resources in relation to specific client orders.
This means that all production planning and scheduling processes will be informed directly by reliably forecast product demand figures, ensuring that during times of resource scarcity, businesses can optimize the ordering and utilization of all essential assets in relation to accurate market-specific data.
In practise, a well-implemented MTK structure will enable manufacturing businesses to limit the use of raw materials and supplier-provided components only to values deemed necessary to fulfill the needs of their client base, with additional options to stockpile chosen resources in preparation for potential supply chain issues, flagging such assets appropriately within an integrated inventory management system.
Live purchase order management
To appropriately support both real-time inventory monitoring systems and MTK workflows, a related purchase order management process should be devised. Typically, this can be achieved through the development of a bespoke software solution designed to assess data gleaned from related systems.
The central idea is to ensure that all manufacturing purchases are necessary, justified, and optimized for cost-efficiency, ultimately aiding businesses in avoiding stock-outs and making sure that on-site teams and products continue moving regardless of supply chain issues informed by live data insights.
An effective purchase order management platform will be configured to track the manufacturing process from resource procurement to fulfillment, using live sales, market and supply chain data to determine accurate material requirements and the most appropriate times to order resources, with all assets automatically logged in an integrated inventory management platform for optimized efficiency.
Though the world seems fairly far removed from the events of 2020, businesses across most major industries are still facing a number of problems tangentially related to the pandemic. In particular, supply chain issues are proving troublesome for businesses involved in the manufacturing of goods, though IT teams are well-equipped to mitigate these concerns through smart resource management.
By optimizing the sourcing and procurement of essential resources with the aid of live data insights and automated software solutions, IT professionals can ensure that companies are suitably protected from potential supply chain issues and able to optimize the efficiency of manufacturing processes to better meet customer needs and find relative stability in turbulent markets on the road towards recovery.
Disclaimer: The author is completely responsible for the content of this article. The opinions expressed are their own and do not represent IEEE’s position nor that of the Computer Society nor its Leadership.