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Integrated systems can improve supply chain management

2/8/2013 at 11:38 am by

In the digital age, the goal for most organizations – and even cities – is to develop electronic workflows that provide seamless data integration across every department. 

Boise, Idaho, for instance, recently adopted an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that integrates the city’s financial, human resources and supply chain management.

“We thought it was a much simpler system to use, and one of the goals of the project was not just to have a very few power users, but we wanted it [in use] more broadly across the organization,” Garry Beaty, chief information officer of the city of Boise, recently told TechTarget.

For manufacturers, integrated systems could prove to be extremely helpful, particularly as their supply chains become increasingly complicated. More than anytime in the past, these companies are expanding across town, state and international borders, delivering products to a higher number of clients than before.

But according to a recent Deloitte survey, many companies are struggling to manage the growing number of supply chain challenges.

“Supply chains are increasingly complex, and their interlinked, global nature makes them vulnerable to a range of risks,” said Kelly Marchese , principal at Deloitte Consulting. 

The study found that nearly half of companies have been negatively impacted by the growth of risk events over the past three years, while 53 percent of respondents said that disruptions in the supply chain have led to losses. Technology, industrial and manufacturing firms have suffered the most from these issues, according to the report. 

Deploying integrated systems is key
Boise, Idaho, is early in the deployment process, but Beaty told TechTarget that, “there’s no doubt,” the city’s integrated ERP system will offer functionality improvements while cutting costs. 

While cities and manufacturers function in very different ways, the benefits from data integration could be similar. In a recent blog post for Technology Spectator, Ian Whiting, CEO of Markinson Business Software Solutions, suggested that in order to avoid failed ERP implementation, organizations should seamlessly integrate other applications into the standard package, including customer relationship and supply chain management (SCM) systems. That way, he said, companies can develop an ERP strategy that is tailor-made to fit their business needs. 

The Deloitte study also included several SCM suggestions, beginning with increased accessibility. The more visibility employees have over their data, the more likely they will be able to identity problems and react to them accordingly. The report also proposed that organizations make supply chain management strategies as flexible as possible, with more people collaborating on these efforts.

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The Sage ERP team report on various topics related to ERP and business management.

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