Synchronizing CPE in the Supply Chain (Part 3)

Ok, so we’ve talked about what it takes to synchronize the supply chain and bring back or retain the ‘value’ components of the supply chain within the communication service provider instead of giving it to fulfillment partners. In this final installment we’ll talk about what it takes to go the last mile and take ALL the value out of the extended supply chain.

Extending Supply Chain Synchronization Even Further
Even after the CSP’s fulfillment partner(s) are integrated into the synchronized supply chain and are interacting directly with order management system, receiving fulfillment direction, providing enterprise-wide inventory visibility and managing returns they still retain some ‘valuable’ pieces of the supply chain. They still own and control the software used to manage the pick, pack and ship operations within the outsourced warehouse facilities used to fulfill the CSPs orders.

By taking the next step and deploying a supply collaboration capability and a centralized network warehouse management system (nWMS) with associated operating procedures and facility processes that are streamlined to the business needs, the CSP becomes empowered to finally commoditize the entire last mile of the supply chain. By pushing inventory visibility out to the manufacturers and distributors (instead of relying on the 3PL to purchase on behalf of the CSP) and pushing the radio frequency (RF), RFID or light web client nWMS interfaces out into the 3PL partners, true multi-sourcing can take place and the same service level can be measured and expected across all supply chain network partners using the same methodologies and systems mandated by the communications provider.

A centralized supply collaboration solution helps organizations effectively manage the extended purchase order lifecycle, including all interactions with external parties.

It provides both internal and external users with immediate access to purchase/planned orders, allowing them to negotiate changes over the Internet; redirect orders and inventory; and resolve unexpected problems or delays. It further provides real-time visibility into all aspects of the inbound supply chain, resulting in improved communication with suppliers; lower processing costs, faster response rates on exceptions and ultimately, increased performance of their supply chain. Supply collaboration even offers the ability to promise goods that are inbound or still residing at the manufacturer’s facility. Since the complete CPE inventory life-cycle is visible selling against that inventory can happen anywhere in the supply chain based on business rules and conditions.

Key Capabilities:

  • Central PO repository – Aggregate and manage purchase orders from multiple internal systems and divisions.
  • Collaborative execution – Collaborate, negotiate and confirm order plans, shipments and notifications with suppliers via the Internet.
  • Supplier Compliance – Enforce corporate and industry standards for supplier compliance, reporting, label printing and document formats.
  • Flexible control of purchase order processes – Flexibly define metrics, track, and manage each supplier relationship according to business goals.
  • Proactive Exception Management – Respond immediately to unplanned events or potential issues throughout the purchase order execution lifecycle.
  • Analytics – Provide reporting and analytics infrastructure for defining, tracking and managing to metrics.

Business Benefits:

  • Increased Revenue – Top-line revenues can be improved through enhanced customer service by reducing stock-out risks. Improved responsiveness to customer needs by reducing order cycle times can be achieved and you can effectively up-sell / cross-sell with a solid fulfillment backbone.
  • Reduce Costs – Overall operational costs can be reduced by eliminating manual purchase order processing costs, through reduced fulfillment and inventory handling costs and by reducing labor costs with collaboration and exception-based management.
  • Reduced Working Capital – Achieved through reduced inventory levels by better balancing / synchronizing inventory across internal locations and trading partners. Monitors and alerts help to avoid and rapidly resolve problems (shortages, delays, etc.) Reduce material costs by leveraging more aggregated buyer data and reduced cycle times via collaboration.
  • Leverage Fixed Assets: Better utilization of logistics and warehousing infrastructure.

A networked WMS provides a central point of control over complex warehouse operations, across multiple facilities of varying types. With its service-oriented architecture and process-centric modeling capabilities, nWMS can be leveraged across all types of situations, from the largest facilities to the smallest stocking locations. It includes robust planning, execution and measurement tools for distribution managers, bringing operational discipline to the complex warehouse operations. The networked warehouse management system is process centric, notifying other systems or locations of critical events that occur within the network and make fulfillment decisions based on real-time information received from customers, partners and suppliers. Built to handle the most complex fulfillment requirements, it improves internal efficiencies through business rules-driven warehouse management.

Key Capabilities

  • Planning, Execution & Measurement Tools – Use powerful task planning, management and monitoring tools to improve asset utilization.
  • Business Rules-Based Operations – Leverage a full suite of business rules designed for high-volume environments.
  • Real-Time Operational Views – Make immediate operational improvements using “dash board” views of real-time warehouse activity.
  • Value-Added Services – Automate a wide variety of value-added services such as kitting, postponed manufacturing, packing and labeling.
  • Ability to bring up and down warehouses quickly and from a central location.

Business Benefits

  • Reduce Warehouse Operating Costs – Drive down labor and transportation costs by automating complex tasks and improving operational decisions.
  • Improve Asset Utilization – Maximize the productivity of manpower, equipment and space using planning and execution tools.
  • Improve Inventory Control – Gain tighter control over inventory and its movement, leading to reduced inventory levels and handling costs.
  • Increase Customer Satisfaction – Reduce order cycle times and improve fulfillment accuracy through enhanced control of warehouse operations

Regardless of how far an organization decides to go with it’s supply chain synchronization, it’s critical that they begin the process of taking back the ‘value’ of their supply chain if they expect to be able to provider exceptional service to today’s empowered customer.

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