Why an ERP Supply Chain Software Matters

ERP Supply Chain Software

Successful manufacturers nurture and develop their vendors into a cohesive extension of their organization.  In instances of scarce resources or where close communications regarding product changes are critical, creating excellent communications, integration of systems, and trust between all parties is necessary. Hence, the organization ‘extends itself’ into the vendor base.  

It might involve some significant cost to do this, but the long-term benefits are substantial.  The first cost is developing the company’s vision of what they’d like the supply chain to be in the ‘future state.’  Certainly, items like competitive pricing and on-time delivery are a given, but product reliability, product lifecycle management, and seamless communications are needed to bring significant value. This is the power of ERP supply chain software from Epicor.

Supply Chain Management in ERP

Supply chain management in ERP usually involves the following steps: RFQ’s are generated, quotes received, orders placed, and receipts are made into the system.  If all vendors are highly reliable, pricing is always aggressive, and delivery is a given, then great.  If things were this easy, we’d all be wildly successful.  If your situation is ‘normal’, you may consider the following steps:

  1. Vendor development – visit your vendor and perform a formal assessment of their office systems, shop floor controls, quality systems, and delivery capabilities.  Are they registered to an ISO standard?  Do they track their  metrics?  Do you see evidence of systemic improvements that come from internal suggestions or corrective actions?
  2. Once your assessment is complete, identify the areas of improvement that you require.  Make a plan to develop your vendor over a target time period.  You may need to assist the vendor with lean practitioners or other experts from your team in some cases in some cases. 
  3. Your evaluation may yield some important details about your vendor that you will want to monitor.  Not only on-time delivery, but things like staff attendance and efficiency numbers, corrective actions, reason code analysis for items that are scrapped or reworked.  These are metrics the indicate what is ‘really going on’ and if you see improvement in these areas, you know the vendor is listening.  If they are improving, that’s an indication that they are making a serious commitment to listen and work with you. 
  4. How often does your vendor share critical information when there is a failure, or alert you when they’re having trouble?  If you’ve developed a trusting relationship, your vendor shouldn’t be afraid to share this ‘dirty laundry’.  They will know that these issues will hurt your operation in the long run – so getting help from you early is the best way to prevent long term issues. 
  5. Be careful of excuses.  Vendors can be very creative in coming up with excuses that mask the underlying issues at hand.  Here’s a saying from a grammar school teacher that rings true throughout business:  “The road to failure is paved with excuses”.  

Contact EpiCenter Today For Expert ERP Supply Chain Software

The next step in working with a critical vendor is to connect systems.  Tying together all communications in real-time is he only way to truly know what’s happening on their shop floor, at the same time they find out.  Modern ERP systems should allow for this kind of integration and in Epicor, your can set thresholds for performance, and when a threshold isn’t attained, automated messaging and other events can be triggered.

Instead of reading a report on late deliveries and calling your vendor to find out what’s happening – you should know instantly when there’s an issue, and your vendor should be calling you to get help with correcting the situation.  Every failure should be addressed with this question: “What can we do to prevent this from happening again?”.  

If these are the kinds of issues you have with your vendors, and you’d like help with not only the business processes but potentially with implementing a World-Class ERP Supply Chain software, then you should contact us. Our experienced team has worked with a number of different industries and can help you with all the different aspects of implementing an ERP’ and other services associated with it. We also have partnered with SourceDay, and Epicor partner, to automate supplier collaboration from RFQ to POContact us today, or fill out the form below, and one of our ERP experts will be in touch with you!

written by Jeffrey W. Glaze, President

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