Tips for Automating a Supply Chain

Tips for Automating a Supply Chain
Tips for Automating a Supply Chain
Tips for Automating a Supply Chain

Tips for Automating a Supply Chain

Automating a supply chain can feel overwhelming. According to CIO, it is costly, complicated and can be stressful. So, what’s the payoff? Why would anyone want to embark on automating a supply chain? Despite the challenges faced during, and after, the implementation of new automation software, supply chain automation is well worth it in savings. CIO’s Lee Pender offers four tips on successful supply chain automation:

  1. Convince suppliers to convert: Supply chain management is a unique beast because not everything can be controlled. Your supply chain extends past your company culture and systems into those of your suppliers. Every time you add a supplier to the mix, you risk increasing your operations’ complexity. If you want to shift the way your suppliers operate their businesses, you either need to be powerful enough to force it on them or sell them on your new automation system. Likely you will achieve the second option. Demonstrating that you both are able to do more business with a new automated system is key.

  2. Prepare for bad information: New software takes time to absorb the company’s history and provide adequate forecasting information. The first few months after a conversion might seem like a mess, but it has not been a waste of time. The tweaks will be worked out as the system learns more and more information and becomes fully integrated with your company’s history.

  3. Fix the supply chain connection to ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and supply chain software go together like peanut butter and jelly; unfortunately, connecting the two programs does not always go as planned. Fixing your ERP software so it is fully integrated into your supply chain software is key. This may mean making changes to a software package that has been at the company for several years. It’s OK to do that. Getting the two programs to talk to each other is the whole point of employing supply chain automation.

  4. Defuse functional warfare: Understand that there will be people inside and outside of your company who resist change. They are used to doing their own thing. Reducing their power in the overall design of the project benefits implementation. Defusing the situation with key groups before turmoil sets in helps things go much smoother.

These tips are written explicitly for implementing new supply chain automation software into your business; however, they can be generalized to attempting to change the process in just about any company situation. See more tips from CIO here.