Economies around the world have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Several businesses are looking at financial losses due to the disruption in their supply chains. As the situation is still volatile, it has been difficult for companies to make operational decisions during the crisis. Experts suggest that as the disruption to supply continues, risk management processes need to be implemented across industries.
So far, China has received the biggest hit on its supply chain. The People’s Republic of China is one of the world’s largest suppliers of finished goods and component parts. When the coronavirus pandemic brought down lock downs and border closures, Chinese plants had to stall operations and were unable to circulate the goods down the supply pipeline. As a result, economies around the world that are Chinese customers are bearing the blunt of stalled operations and the resulting unavailability of components. This is having a ripple effect across industries and continents.
Let us look at the challenges faced on a macro economy scale:
Making a product on a large scale has evolved into a rather multifaceted process. With the rise in global movement, it has become a viable option for companies to source different components in the form of semi-finished or finished items from various suppliers and assemble them to create their own product. Modern manufacturing is, thus, heavily dependent upon logistics. One major challenge that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed is the disruption of the global movement itself, of individuals and goods.
On the next level of the supply chain lies Procurement. Due to the economy of scales and currency pricing factors, it is cheaper to produce certain categories of goods in low-cost economies. These goods are then ferried to all over the world to meet the demand. China was the first to be hit with the coronavirus which resulted in a halt on production and transit of goods. The closed operations of a major manufacturer lead to a global shortage.
Inventories and storage are an important part of the distribution process. With the risk of infection being high with Covid-19, warehouse staffing has been hampered. Restriction on movement has caused an interruption in the flow of goods in the market and supply shortage.
The pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of the supply chain for everyone to see. It has made industries aware of their short-falling and forced them to come up with solutions.
So, what are the possible scopes for innovation?
There is a need to address the supply chain glut. Resilient supply chain technology is the answer. Developing supply chain management software solutions that are robust and comprehensive is what Intelegain believes in. Given the current circumstances, business models need to be technology-led. To explain this point better, here is an example of a supply chain management or SCM software solution developed by Intelegain for an LED lights manufacturer.
The LED lights manufacturer discussed below services business-to-business dealings as well as the business-to-customer segment. Let us have a look at how technology helped in making their supply chain smooth and learn how innovation can fuel supply chain management:
The process cycle starts when goods are manufactured. Our client has multiple production facilities that produce LED light products depending on the order placed. To ensure that an accurate count of units produced is maintained, hourly entries of units made are recorded in the SCM system. This helps in keeping a tab on the units produced in one facility and the total number of units available at a given point of time in all the facilities combined together. Clear and simple record keeping helps stake owners read the data without much effort, aiding better decision making.
Order Management System:
The SCM system was designed to accept orders raised by the distributors, dealers and the Sales Force team. When an order is raised, it shows the manufacturing facility how many units are to be produced alongside other order specifics. Once the order is received, the manufacturing facility begins production. The system is designed in a way that anyone can raise an order from their respective accounts. This ensures transparent record keeping of all the orders raised till date in the system. The multi-user interface designed by Intelegain helps save time and avoid unnecessary confusion in placing orders. The system helps track orders placed, replacement orders placed and order fulfillment on supplier’s stock keeping unit (SKU). There is also a provision for Credit Note management. Clarity in record-keeping helps assign accountability. Technological solutions need to be designed in a way that they are able to store massive data, while keeping it organized under appropriate segments to aid better filtration of information.
Logistics play a major role in the supply chain. To ensure that the products have a smooth transit till they reach their destination, the Intelegain SCM platform has FedEx API integration. The integration automates shipping and logistics. The order once ready, is picked by the logistics partner and shipped to the designated recipient. Tracking a shipment helps estimate the delivery and capture any issues with the consignment. It is important to record not just what left a warehouse, but also what was delivered at the final stage. End-to-end tracking is no longer just a feature, it has become a necessity.
Sales Force Management System:
For a business to do well and grow, trade relations need to be maintained across the industry. This is where the Sales Force team comes into the picture. Acting as relationship managers, it is their job to meet prospective customers and help the business onboard new deals. As such, their job is crucial to nurture growth. The Intelegain SCM platform has integrated Sales Force Management, through which members of Sales Force can record their attendance, details with regards to their client meetings, visits to various location for business and their day-to-day dealings. Moreover, they can also place product orders in the system on behalf of the dealers they have onboarded. This ensures that no new opportunity is missed. Businesses need to understand how important it is to make sure that their customers face no hassle when placing new orders. Easy conversion of interest into prospects can be aided by technology.
Discounts and Incentive Programs:
Motivation comes in many forms and incentives are a good way of keeping the spirits high. This is why, discount and incentive programs are run regularly for the dealers and distributors who use the Intelegain SCM platform to place their orders. Such activities are important, especially now when many enterprises are struggling to hit breakeven. These initiatives show existing partners and customers that their relationships with the business are valued.
‘Goodwill is an underrated asset.’ One of the reasons why Intelegain’s supply chain management software solution has stood the test of time is our commitment to quality. We ensure that our clients get the best technological solutions, which in return has helped us reach the masses. Our quality output owing to our dedicated team has been our USP in a market that has seen many players enter and exit over the years.
The current pandemic offers lessons on how to deal with situations when things that ‘could’ go wrong, ‘do’ go wrong. Increased digitalization is the need of the hour. Some major areas that need attention now include the extended supply network, while seeking to understand alternate sources of supply. The cracks in the global supply chain have been highlighted, it is time that they are dealt with effectively.