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3 Digital Supply Chain Management Strategies that Deliver Results

If your company has not begun to transform its MRO supply chain to digital operation, the digital age will soon come for you. Today’s companies simply cannot keep up with automated, digitally integrated competitors. So if you still input inventory numbers by hand, manually load carts to fill purchase orders, and forecast demand with spreadsheets or even – heaven forbid – pencil and paper, you can no longer afford to sit on the digital transformation sideline.
 
SDI has helped hundreds of companies escape the “Excel hell” and other manual processes that require you to shoehorn data sources and formats into Microsoft’s spreadsheet program, find and correct data-entry errors, and guestimate risk and ROI.
 
Fortunately, by implementing SDI’s suite of cloud-based productivity software, in combination with the supply chain services that SDI provides, you can leave behind labor-intensive analog procedures that are tedious, fraught with risk, and leave significant potential savings on the table.
 
Digitizing your MRO supply chain makes procurement, production, and finance more efficient and proactive. The software determines causes and effects, compares costs, predicts demand and input factors, and enables our team to create scenarios that highlight appropriate strategies. SDI has identified three tools our clients have found most powerful in digitally transforming their MRO supply chains.

1) Supply chain management strategy: Process automation

In repair and operations, robots show their mettle by performing jobs that would be difficult or impossible for humans, owing to the limitations of the human anatomy. For instance, miniature robots have been employed to inspect and fetch small machine parts. They also are great for taking on cleaning and maintenance jobs inside chemical tanks, extreme temperature environments, around other health and safety hazards, and in performing the most delicate operations where precision is paramount.
 
But robots, when talking about robotic process automation, provide true value in streamlining and driving efficiencies in supply chain tactics and analysis due to their ability to speed up routine processes. They are useful for repetitive, transactional jobs, where they can enforce pre-set rules to process purchases, counts, and calculations. And they can do it faster, more efficiently, and at less cost that their living, breathing counterparts.
 
In the source-to-pay arena, this means AI can be used to perform the mind-numbing data extraction and entry tasks that can cause human operators to lose focus and make mistakes. Any supply chain operation that is based on strict rules – order triggers, invoice processing, discrepancy identification and resolution can be adaptable to robotic process automation, machine learning, and other emerging digital technologies.

2) Supply chain management strategy: Advanced analysis of multiple data sources

A digital approach is required if you want to maximize the benefits of data analysis to bestow on your MRO planning, forecasting, and performance analysis. As manufacturing, procurement, finance, and other divisions become more and more integrated, data rolls in from a range of sources. Incorporating information from machine monitors, scheduling, vendors, SAP/ERP files, and other internal processes and outside sources. Collecting, cleansing, and standardizing data to a consistent format is made easier when it is all in digital form.
 
ZEUS, SDI’s MRO supply chain technology platform, includes a robust data analysis engine that harnesses the power of big data for MRO, regulating the entire process; from pulling relevant data from all sources, converting and storing it in a format that end-user applications can utilize, and directing into the data warehouse.
 
ZEUS’s power is magnified with the input data share taxonomy and conventions. With uniform data, ZEUS can more fully apply decision thresholds and deliver actionable insights. Uniform data is the fuel on which advanced analysis runs. It ensures any plant expansion or supplier orientation runs smoothly. This scalability allows businesses to start small, establish standard processes, and chalk up early wins before expanding.

3) Supply chain management strategy: Savings tracking

Procurement and financial managers need to understand which sourcing, warehousing, contracting, payment, and other processes generate savings. Monitoring, recording, and analyzing these savings gives decision makers insight into each initiative’s progress against its projected ROI.
 
Savings tracking works best in conjunction with complete, accurate data collection and process automation. The ability to data-quantify these savings by department, project, and activity to identify new sources of savings are what transform supply chain management from an attempt to corral transaction costs to driving strategic value for the firm. Platforms that give a longitudinal view of savings initiatives work best for planning and reporting purposes. A full picture of the plan’s concept, goals, implementation, and current status – using consistently formatted and presented data – helps visualize cost-cutting plans individually and collectively. Firms can determine realistic objectives for similar plans, decide which to scale, and which to abandon. Programs demonstrating real, documented results help build the case for future endeavors.
 
ZEUS’s capabilities include sortable reports for any timeframe, department, project, or spend category. It also highlights non-compliance and other factors that can prevent goal achievement. The platform ensures all enterprise data is accessible and exportable to automated ordering, payment, reconciliation, auditing, and other departments responsible for cost savings and monitoring.
 
Contact SDI today for a demonstration of how our digital supply chain innovations can transform your company.