FIVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN MORE DYNAMIC

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1 SUPPLY CHAIN WHITE PAPER FIVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN MORE DYNAMIC

2 Keeping tabs on your company s supply chain is no small task when you ve got hundreds, if not thousands, of bits of data whirling by as materials come in the door and finished goods go out. To stay on top of it all, you and your team need an efficient system that can automate processes and keep you informed with accurate data that s easy to get your hands on. In this white paper, we ll show you how to get a better handle on the details, adapt when things don t go according to plan, turn your data into insight, embrace change, and share ideas.

3 1: Follow Actuals, Not Averages Tracking costs through your supply chain to get a true sense of what it takes to go from raw materials to delivered product is crucial. But without the right tools, it can be difficult, if not impossible. And traditional approaches to creating and tracking this total landed cost are often based on estimates of numerous individual costs from average fuel prices to median postage and delivery charges that make up your total. As a result, your total costs can be anything but accurate. Gaining visibility into real costs from across your supply chain lets you make educated adjustments to pricing, marketing and sales. And that can have a real impact on profitability. And by connecting your supply chain, financial management, sales and marketing functions you can run item-by-item profitability analysis across your supply chain and help your sales teams and marketers prioritize the products, locations and types of customers that deliver the greatest profitability. Plus, Microsoft Dynamics ERP provides better audit trails for tracking cost adjustments, so you can ensure changes are recorded, tracked and, of course, fed directly into your financial management process. Microsoft Dynamics ERP allows you to track landed, standard and perpetual costs, providing you with a more accurate view of every product that leaves your facility and lands at a customer s door. From your standard reports, you can drill down to more specific details like costs by warehouse location. 3

4 2: Make A Big Impact With Big Data Big Data seems to be a hot topic in every industry, but what does Big Data really mean for small and mid-size businesses? And how can it improve your supply chain? We re all painfully aware of the immense amount of data every supply chain produces from the manufacturing process, to orders, to inventory and all the detailed metrics you ve established to measure, track and plan. Instead of making your supply chain run smarter and faster, the enormity of this data often bogs you down. So how do you use data to your advantage? By capturing it, translating it and sharing its most essential elements quickly, across your entire organization, with just the right people. To really analyze and improve the effectiveness of your supply chain, you first must connect your SCM data with the metrics that matter most to your business. To connect all the pieces of this fast-moving puzzle, you need a truly integrated business management system. With Microsoft Dynamics ERP, you can manage your finances and supply chain from a single system.. Once your data is connected, you need the tools to easily analyze it and then use it to make your supply chain work harder. Microsoft Dynamics ERP gives your people instant access to the relevant information they need at a high-level or granular-level right from home pages personalized to each user. Plus, you can export information into Excel with a simple click, so you can poke and prod your data as much as you d like, then easily share it around your organization. Big Data is a big deal when you make it manageable and workable for your supply chain. When you can bring your specific transaction details together with information like weather forecasts, population changes, traffic conditions, etc. you can make a significant impact on your service levels as well as your sales and profitability. 4

5 3: Share Ideas, Not Just Information For more than a decade now, collaboration has been the name of the game in supply chain management. Companies have focused on building the systems to collect and share vital supply chain information across their organizations and with their vendors and suppliers. Today, successful companies need to evolve from simply sharing data to sharing ideas, creating a platform for communicating with every link in the supply chain. Businesses and their supply chain partners need the means to examine the information they have; brainstorm ideas; identify trends, issues and opportunities; and share insight from every perspective. How? Well, first you have to make sure everyone s getting the best, real-time look into what s happening and that you have the right tools to predict what might happen tomorrow. Once you re armed with all the data, you need the technology to connect and share ideas with and across your supply chain. Microsoft Dynamics ERP interoperates with Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft Lync collaboration tools, so you can easily, instantly and securely share information inside and outside your walls. You can also collaboratively analyze data, share ideas, and improve how each part of your supply chain fits efficiently into place. With the right data and a platform for collaboration, you ll change each link of your supply chain into an active business partner that can contribute to the success of your company. Microsoft Dynamics ERP provides real-time access to all the data and metrics across your supply chain. Plus, with powerful built-in predictive analysis tools, you can identify trends, predict opportunities and make accurate cost and revenue projections. And by connecting your supply chain, financial management, sales and marketing functions with Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you get an end-to-end picture of your entire business. 5

6 4: Avoid Disruption Natural disasters. Political unrest. Economic collapses. Even the occasional economic surge. The volatility of our world is an everyday reality for every business, regardless of where it is. Even if your customers and facilities are situated on the same plot of land, your supply chain is undoubtedly global you ve got goods and raw materials coming from all over the world. As a result, it s critical that you can identify and avoid disruptions. Great plans rely on great data, and that data needs to come from across your business. The predictive analysis tools in Microsoft Dynamics ERP allow you to look ahead, paint accurate what if pictures, and get a clear sense of how major changes or even slight fluctuations could impact your entire business. Armed with this information, you ll be prepared for almost anything. You ll know your options. And you ll know how to craft a contingency plan to help avoid disruption to your business. Your supply chain is flexible, but it doesn t have to be fragile. Microsoft Dynamics ERP gives you the tools to prepare for and protect your SCM processes from the ramifications of global events to the deluge of big data. This five-part blog series was designed to pinpoint those interruptions and opportunities, and to demonstrate how Microsoft Dynamics ERP makes supply chain management simpler, smarter and more profitable. And because Microsoft Dynamics ERP brings together financial and supply chain management, you can see how changes to your supply chain affect everything from open orders to delivery times, inventory and cash flow, allowing you to predict and contain the impact a supply chain disruption has on your business and your customers. 6

7 5: Embrace Change After efficiency, adaptability is the most important thing a well-managed supply chain can offer. And fluctuating economic demands as well as fickle consumer and business buyers mean today s small and mid-sized businesses must move beyond yesterday s notion of what s adaptable. Today, we must be prepared to change course daily, not quarterly, moving from this vendor to that vendor; forming mergers and partnerships; and scaling up and down as your suppliers, your market and your margins demand. Unlike some traditional ERP systems, Microsoft Dynamics adapts to how your supply chain works and changes, so it can easily support the addition of new warehouses, the acquisition of new companies, and other changes to the footprint of your business. And with powerful predictive analysis tools, it allows you to gauge the effect these changes will have on your entire business. There s nothing more frustrating than when your existing systems cannot handle your growth. Or discovering your systems can t adapt to the change that s constant in every business. Microsoft Dynamics ERP can handle hundreds of thousands of transactions, so you won t hit a ceiling in your capacity as your business grows. Speaking of growth, because Microsoft Dynamics ERP systems automate core supply chain processes, you can help your team be more productive, so you don t always have to add costly headcount as your volume increases. 7

8 HOW COLUMBUS CAN HELP. WANT TO KNOW MORE? For more information on Columbus, including case studies, videos and white-papers, visit We hope that this guide has helped you think about your current distribution system s capabilities and quantify its potential for improvement. If after reading this white paper, you feel your organization could benefit from new technology, consider a Microsoft Dynamics ERP distribution solution from Columbus. This highly adaptable set of business software solutions are already used by thousands of small and mid-size companies to help lower inventory costs and deliver higher standards of customer service. This set of distribution solutions from Columbus can help your organization: Automate critical business processes, from order capture to inventory replenishment, and help reduce wasteful activities. Deliver real-time business intelligence and alerts on the status of the business to management and customers. Enable customer self-service through Web portals. Create customer loyalty Make it easy for you to provide your customers with accurate, up-to-date information so you can quickly answer all their questions. Empower employees to collect and use accurate inventory data in real-time with the latest wireless technology. Provide easy, real-time visibility into inventory, sales, purchasing, and financial information across multiple locations. Accurately track shipping and delivery of parts by integrating Automatic Data Collection (ADC) functionality with enterprise resource planning (ERP). Maintain accurate real-time inventory data and optimize layout, picking methods, and movement. Import sales and inventory data directly into familiar Microsoft Office system software such as Excel and Outlook. Create accurate demand forecasts. Respond rapidly to unique customer demands, such as specific packaging and shipping requirements. Manage customer interactions across multiple communication channels. FIND OUT MORE TODAY Of course, this guide doesn t replace the expert advice you receive from an experienced industry professional. If you would like to learn more about ColumbusDistribution, or would like to find out how a new distribution solution can benefit your organization, visit: ABOUT COLUMBUS: Columbus is an industry-based consultancy and award-winning technology developer focused on the manufacturing, food processing, and retail industries. We are the preferred consultancy for ambitious companies wanting to streamline business processes, improve operational efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve visibility into their businesses.

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