5 Ways to Enhance Your SCM with Smart Data Collection
Modernize Your Supply Chain Management
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For manufacturers and warehouses, the supply chain is constantly top of mind. As transportation costs soar and warehouse managers grapple with the need for more space, digitally transformed inventories have proven to be the way forward.
Modernization and streamlined technology contribute to overall operational efficiency, driving stronger business models and quicker delivery mechanisms. After all, this is what consumers want and in the rise of e-commerce, it’s the only way businesses will survive.
As companies continue to face unprecedented disruption and increased customer demand in a pandemic-driven economy, understanding the role of technology integration will be vital. This begins with an understanding of how automation impacts your mission-critical business systems.
Here are five ways to modernize your supply chain management, resulting in a positive impact in your productivity, your inventory and delivery, and your bottom line.
1) Take a Look at How Your Organization Operates
The first step to digitally transform your supply chain is to start with the basics. Review how your organization operates. Look for inefficient processes, areas where you’re losing money and time. Review your SAP implementation to ensure it’s giving you the information you need to embrace agility and forward thinking.
Ensure any new technology efforts work cohesively with your essential business systems. Custom mobile barcoding and data collection processes should easily and seamlessly integrate into your SAP technology to improve overall workflow, productivity, and accuracy.
When looking at mobile barcoding options, ensure they improve your SAP systems by delivering:
- A barcode system that automates your data collection
- Enterprise mobility which extends the reach of your SAP technology
- Mobile inventory software that drives tracking efficiency
Your SAP software is designed to handle data throughout your facility. Coupled with a mobile data collection software solution, your inventory data can be automatically updated, so you know you’re working with the most accurate data for your changing business needs.
2) Create Efficiencies with Automated Workflows
Many companies with SAP are still relying heavily on manual inventory processes. Instead of standing out in a competitive market, they are dealing with inaccuracies, inefficiencies, and productivity issues, not to mention overhead costs. But even if you have some kind of mobile solution in place, you’re probably not achieving your digital goals efficiently and accurately.
Mobile inventory solutions create efficiency by automating critical workflows in your warehouse operations. The use of barcode scanning, mobile applications, and hardware eliminates the need for inefficient processes and the use of paper tracking. In fact, applying mobile inventory solutions with barcoding has been found to increase productivity by 30%. If you’re not seeing that kind of increase in efficiency, you need a better solution.
For Schwing America, inefficient warehouse automation problems were seriously impacting crucial operations. By adding in an SAP-certified barcode solution, the company significantly increased reliability and effective labor utilization. Their picking accuracy increased by 42%, resulting in an incredible 99.83% picking accuracy rate.
3) Address the Inefficiency of Insufficient Labor
At the top of supply chain issues is the lack of skilled labor. With increased demand comes the need for increased labor — at a time when companies are struggling to keep staffing issues at sufficient levels for productivity.
Manual processes not only cost you time, but also resources. Scaling operations to meet growing demand is not achievable when inventory movements are recorded on paper. Further, it’s not a selling point for your operation and its talent retention efforts. Today’s workforce demands the latest technology and tools.
Every instant employees spend on unnecessary supply chain processes is a moment taken away from your core business functions. Collecting data entry on the factory floor and entering it later into your SAP system is not only error-prone, but also thankless work that consumes valuable employee time.
Having an easy-to-use interface, coupled with an employee onboarding program, can mean 80% less training time for your new hires. That means more time on the floor, ensuring your product is delivered on time and at the highest quality.
Some companies still utilize legacy processes which can hinder its ability to function efficiently and effectively. In fact one company we’ve worked with was doing about 30% of its work twice. This greatly impacted inventory management and real-time visibility, as well as client service.
By implementing a full mobile data collection suite, companies can see massive results quickly. Workers in receiving will no longer have to be tethered to one location. Instead, mobile barcoding scanners can capture inventory data with ease saving them time and money like an increase in employee productivity of 450%.
4) Review Offline Data Collection Issues
The desire for real-time visibility does not extend only to customers. Rather, insight into all inventory movements is vital to manufacturers and suppliers. A key to moving forward with a digital mindset is traceability.
Mobile barcoding technology has the ability to provide field mobility solutions such as tablets, smartphones, and mobile computers that maintain access to critical systems, ensuring regular data updates. Through online and offline solutions, offsite workers in areas of limited network connectivity can still track inventory and capture data quickly.
A leading California-based utility company, providing power for over 14 million people, had to track large amounts of inventory across 50,000 square miles of territory. Manual processes led to increased costs, lack of real-time inventory tracking and delays.
The company chose a program for mobile data collection that seamlessly integrated into their SAP. Now, employees can collect data off-line and it automatically uploads to SAP as soon as they enter cellular or wireless coverage. The result? No more lost inventory.
5) Keep Security Top of Mind
As your organization embraces technology, make sure security is front and center. Research has shown that the cost of a data breach for 2020 averaged $3.86 million. That adds an immense amount of lost time and resources should your organization come under attack.
Supply chain management involves large amounts of potentially sensitive data that is prime for potential security risk. When working with an outside vendor for mobile barcoding or other automation solutions, it’s critical that security be a key point of conversation.
Look for data collection solutions that:
- Don’t allow direct access to your SAP system
- Serve as a proxy, only displaying predefined forms and files that your workers need
- Utilize single sign-on and traffic encryption
Security concerns aren’t going away, so it’s necessary to choose the right partner for your automated data collection needs. Your selected solution should never impair the security of your SAP. And if you choose your vendor carefully, you can actually enhance your data security.
Now Is the Time to Address Your Inventory Management Issues
Manual supply chain processes are no longer feasible. And underperforming mobile solutions won’t get you where you need to be. Either scenario is a significant cost and resource drain on organizations large and small. Digitally transformed supply chains are the way to set your warehouse up for the future. A successful mobile supply chain must embrace cutting-edge mobile barcoding solutions and smart data collection to drive efficiency, agility, and future growth. This begins with automated processes that integrate in real time with SAP.