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Supply Chain Management Software Optimization


Software Training

Supply chain software training is not a one-time event. For new hires after the initial implementation, HR should develop a system orientation and training program. New IT analysts and department managers should attend vendor training. Approximately 6 to 9 months after the implementation, a system utilization review should be performed and additional unused but helpful software functionality should be targeted with a follow-on training program.

Process Owners

Planning and managing a "Supply Chain Process", as opposed to individual departmental silos, makes it easier to reduce waste and improve overall performance. For example, passing a customer order from the sales department, to the warehouse as a pick ticket, to transportation as a BOL, and then to accounting as an invoice can result in communication breakdowns, duplication of efforts, and gaps in accountability if not organized as an end to end process flow. With process owners, processes can be architected to become more efficient.

The key is to begin by identifying and streamlining the three to five top level processes. For each process, the process owner if often the first level support and trouble shooter. The process owner designs the processes with departmental managers, documents process flows (along with the many exception conditions), coordinates training for affected users, manages the backlog and reports on key performance indicators (KPIs).

It is important to create a structure to manage exceptions, eliminate process failures, and continuously improve the process. A process owner is responsible for the whole process and has the discretion to address issues with the different department heads outside their department.

Portfolio Owners

The objective of a Portfolio Owner (more commonly referred to as a Business Systems Analyst) is to optimize the contribution of their assigned area to the overall performance of the supply chain.

Primary responsibilities include the following:

  • Maintain Best Practices
  • Eliminate Redundancies and Duplication of Efforts
  • Manage and Prioritize New Projects
  • Manage Users Requirements
  • Coordinate and Manage Relationships with the Software Vendor

SCM Portfolio

Planning—The objective is to replace islands of data and analysis with an overarching central planning that supports integrated demand, supply and financial planning applications.

Logistics—Distribution centers and transportation are dependent on systems. A critical objective is to ensure system uptime is near as possible to 100% and that the information interfaced from host and partners systems is current and up to date.

Relationships—Information technology is the face trading partners see when exchanging SCM transactions. The goal of the portfolio owner is to synthesize the needs and requirements of all internal departments into a unified and succinct exchange of information.

Supply Chain Visibility—The task is to capture and improve visibility to the flow of products, planning, and performance information. The goal is to do it in such a way so that better informed decisions can be made without overwhelming the users with excess or irrelevant data.

Supply Chain Shared Services—The portfolio is made up of the shared information, business rules, process flow and applications that manage areas common to all supply chain applications, such as customers, suppliers, and products.

Focus On Mission Critical

Managing resources and tasks to excel in mission critical areas should be a top SCM priority. Once mission critical areas are identified, Six Sigma or another process improvement methodology can be used to improve processes, eliminate waste and reduce errors. Joining user groups and associations, reading industry journals, attending industry seminars, and meeting with software vendors can keep a fresh stream of new ideas flowing.

Reduce Cost

High cost areas should be isolated and Six Sigma, Lean or another process improvement methodology used to improve the processes and eliminate waste. Supply chain systems can be configured to identify and report key performance indicators and other metrics that identify waste and excess cost.

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Supply Chain Software Guide



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