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From domestic to global manufacturing supply chains | Best practice is key

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From domestic to global manufacturing supply chains | Best practice is key

Globalisation presents both challenge and opportunity for any industry but for manufacturers the move from a domestic market brings into sharp focus the need to adhere to best practice in manufacturing supply chain management.  Any risk areas of dealing with various suppliers, channels and markets are amplified when going to market globally.

As this report from IFM at University of Cambridge summarises “A ‘global value network’ consists of all the value-adding firms involved in the supply of products and services to end users. Managing these networks has become increasingly challenging as firms specialise within the value chain and become more globally dispersed.”

It is clear that organisations who are moving into global frameworks cannot simply replicate how they operate at a local level, but rather revolutionise their manufacturing supply chain management.

At a recent Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium, Dr Thomas Harrington said:  “Four key – and connected – themes emerged loud and clear: developing a ‘cleverer together’ philosophy; designing more agile and customer-focused supply chains; exploiting the potential of the digital revolution; and addressing the environmental impact of supply chain activities.”

Collaboration is key through smart networks

At the same event, there was an oft-quoted phrase of “better together”, sharing information and aligning objectives and measurements and making it easier for these value chains to connect and collaborate – with the end goal of achieving excellent customer experiences.

Collaborative technology that echoes intrinsic human behaviours has enabled individuals to feel more connected and empowered.  From customer relationship management that controls and captures communications amongst partners, customers and contractors (Dynamics CRM), to video conferencing and instant messaging (Skype for Business), enterprise social networks (Yammer), electronic document sharing (Sharepoint) – Microsoft applications can take away the barriers that prevent remote working, exchange of information and decision making in a timely manner.

Common goals and an integrated approach for manufacturing supply chain management

In this Industry Week article, there are some great case studies of manufacturers sharing their experiences of a truly global supply chain model from risk management, procurement of materials, supply reliability, balancing inventory, waste elimination, changing partnership models through to speed of execution and route to market.

It discusses the requirement to flex your supply chain model as you start to target different countries for both sourcing and end users:  ‘A. Schulman Inc. … a $2.5 billion plastics manufacturer…has some large customers in the German automotive market who are opening facilities in China. “Now we can continue to supply them our products from Germany if we want to, but the advantage is that if they’re in China and we have manufacturing in China, then we can transfer our manufacturing technology to China and provide those parts on a local basis. It’s much better for our customers because they get our products with a much shorter supply chain”’.

Successful manufacturing supply chain management relies on constant communication, the need to create and nurture partnerships across sectors, comparable means of measurement, common language, and overall the ease of collaboration with minimal barriers.

Technology is a key ingredient in the transformation from domestic to global supply chains, particularly to gain visibility to all supply chain partners. By having one version of the truth across your whole manufacturing operation with an integrated ERP solution, manufacturers can mitigate risk and provide accurate information both internally and to partners and customers.

Future proof business management technology such as Microsoft Dynamics ERP has a proven track record of aiding organisations in achieving business efficiencies, providing real-time visibility of performance and ROI and compliance to KPIs and legal guidelines by country.

How industry specific ERP for manufacturers can help the global supply chain

A solution as Prodware for process manufacturing powered by Microsoft Dynamics NAV, streamlines all major business processes and is multi-lingual, multi-currency and multi-legislation provides an international operations scope of organisations that have a multi-national footprint.

Global ERP projects are best managed by software partners with an international presence to assist with local and global project management, deployment and ongoing support.  As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Prodware is present in 15 countries in 42 offices and serves over 19,000 customers.  Speak to us about how we can help support a truly global experience for your manufacturing operation.

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