Technology for Real-time visibility

The benefits

Real-time visibility in operations is key for internal oversight as well as the monitoring of third-party logistics and activity. When all aspects of a supply chain are able to be viewed on a global scale in real time, businesses reduce errors and costs, while increasing flexibility and adaptability. Supply chain processes are using this real-time data to respond faster to market changes, reduce planning cycle times, and accelerate delivery of products to shelves. It also enables staff to uncover and address process errors before they impact production schedules and customer satisfaction. An example of software technology to help businesses with this aspect of their operations is HP’s Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).

Operational efficiency

The information provided by the supply chain supports every activity that your business participates in on one level or another. By leveraging Real Time Visibility, outgoing shipments and inbound receipts can be confirmed and verified in seconds, minimising make-goods and reducing labour, and inventory costs. Not to mention costly human errors. The capacity for digital technologies to aid in operational efficiency is very high. Business owners are encouraged to investigate the benefits such software systems can offer. A number of products are reviewed

How to assess what you need

A typical shop-floor environment may have between fifty and eight-hundred different systems (industrial automation and information systems). Often, these are legacy systems which have been in use for decades. So, the challenge boils down to accessing and integrating this high volume of unstructured data and then providing this information in one place, which is easy to get at, and in real-time. The notion of simplifying this process and making it easier to assess and improve the operational processes of your business has not been lost on software developers. As such there are many possible solutions available online (as the link above provides).

How to implement

Typically, an implementation team would be formed within your business (this may comprise of the owner and one or more suitably skilled or knowledgeable employees) to look at what systems are on the market and what 3rd party consultants have to offer. It will involve examining your existing processes and systems and undertaking gap analysis of what needs to change. This will provide you with the necessary information to determine an appropriate implementation strategy. An insightful article on this subject can be found  here