Manual workflows continue to plague supply chain operations across various industries. Their inefficient processes, often relying on emails and Excel spreadsheets, hinder productivity and can cause significant stress for supply chain managers and logistics heads.
According to the Deloitte 2023 manufacturing industry outlook survey, 72% of manufacturing executives believe the ongoing supply chain disruptions will continue along with a persistent shortage of critical materials. They rely on technology for value mapping of suppliers and raw materials to prepare for any disruptions in the coming year.
In this article, we will share six actionable ways to eliminate manual tasks in your supply chain. Guiding you on how to transform your supply chain, gain valuable time, and enhance your overall operations
The Shackles of Spreadsheets and Emails
95% of manufacturers in the US are still using paper-based workflows, and 98% still find themselves entangled in the web of Excel spreadsheets. They are struggling with myriad challenges, such as errors, version control issues, lack of data visibility, and delays in decision-making.
On the other hand, emails are commonly used for communication in supply chain operations. But, it falls short when it comes to real-time collaboration and tracking. Issues can arise when multiple stakeholders are involved in decision-making processes, causing delays and confusion.
The key challenges associated with traditional and manual methods of supply chain management are:
Large volumes of data: Manually handling supply chain data is overwhelming and prone to errors. Logistics information is gathered from a wide spread of sources, including material planners, purchasers, transport schedulers, financial validators, and operations. Each of them shares the information in a different format, and without a centralization tool, there is no single source of truth.
Short response time: In the absence of real-time data, decision-making processes take longer. The inability to quickly respond to spot freight pickup requests leads to missed shipments and delays in operations.
Accurate decision-making: Data errors lead to inaccurate decisions that impact the entire supply chain. Taking an all-rounded best decision is challenging when the relevant data is stored in discrete silos and unavailable for analysis.
Data Accuracy: Erroneous data entry and inconsistency in data formats result in financial losses.
Optimized Collaboration: Legacy systems do not support real-time collaboration or a central system for data sharing. 30% of companies use four or more collaboration tools in their supply chain, which leads to delays in decision-making and a lack of accountability.
Information Retention: With multiple versions of spreadsheets being shared among stakeholders, critical information and updates are missed. The lack of proper data tracking makes tracking progress or problems difficult.
Processes Follow-ups: Manual processes make tracking tasks and following up on them challenging, causing delays and communication gaps.
Time-efficient tasks: Data entry on spreadsheets or tracking email communication are time-consuming tasks. They take up valuable resources that could be better utilized elsewhere.
Compliance: Without proper tracking and monitoring of collaborations and communications, there is a risk of non-compliance with regulations. Employees may also get involved in uninformed partnerships outside the organization.
Nearly half of U.S. manufacturers agree that they may cease operations in the next decade unless paper-based workflows and legacy systems are eliminated. A key example is Brose, the world’s fourth-largest automotive supplier. The family-owned company develops mechatronic systems for vehicles. They struggled with manual workflows that involved maintaining carrier data over spreadsheets and calling them for premium freight. Adapting to an on-demand transport management system helped them automate the workflow as collaborating with freight forwarders became a centralized process. Streamlining the logistics process provides them with greater visibility and cost savings.
3 Benefits of Automating Supply Chain Operations Now
Manual workflows are slow and lack scalability. They require more resources, leading to higher costs.
Automation allows companies to overcome the challenges of manual supply chain management and transition to scalable solutions. Automating your supply chain operations offers the following benefits:
Centralization of operations: A centralized system makes all data easily accessible to all stakeholders involved in the decision-making process. Real-time collaboration eliminates data silos and improves overall visibility into the supply chain.
Time-saving and operational efficiency: Elimination of manual tasks frees up valuable time for critical tasks. Streamlining operations reduces response time, speeds up decision-making, and improves productivity.
Cost improvement: Automated workflows minimize costs associated with manual tasks, reduce errors, and optimize resource utilization. It results in up to 25% cost avoidance and improves the organization’s financial performance.
On-demand transportation is a powerful tool for automating supply chain processes. It provides real-time data visibility, enhances collaboration, reduces costs, and increases operational efficiency.
How to Start Eliminating the Manual Supply Chain Tasks?
Eliminating manual efforts in your supply chain starts with a well-thought-out process.
Here's how you can get started:
Centralize Logistics Management: A centralized system adeptly tracks shipments and streamlines order fulfillment processes. It simplifies data sharing and fosters improved collaboration among stakeholders.
Use On-Demand Transportation: Implementing on-demand transportation allows the company to quickly adapt to market demands and meet customer requirements with spot logistics.
Rely on Advanced Analytics: With real-time data visibility, advanced analytics can provide insights and predictions to optimize supply chain operations.
Embrace Scalability: Invest in solutions that can grow with your organization, offering scalable and flexible features to accommodate increased shipment volumes and supply chain complexity.
One-click communication: A one-click communication platform minimizes the need for manual emails and follow-ups. Real-time collaboration ensures timely and accurate information sharing.
Implement Easy Coordination: Automated workflows and coordination tools streamline the planning and execution of logistics operations.
Easy4Pro is an innovative logistics technology platform offering supply chain flexibility and scalability through on-demand transportation. It automates logistics processes through a TMS and spot freight to save time, reduce costs, and improve overall supply chain management.
With Easy4Pro, you can:
Enjoy complete visibility over your logistics operations
Utilize advanced analytics to make informed decisions
Efficiently manage the on-demand transportation in your supply chain
Gain access to a vast network of available carriers and shipment options in real time
Streamline communication and coordination with carriers and other stakeholders