Agile and Flexible Logistics
Agility and flexibility are the essence of good warehouse and logistics management. Adaptive and able to move quickly is necessary for an effective distribution strategy. Each order must be handled differently. Each customer has their own set of instructions and requirements to satisfy. In addition Logistics processes need to be lean. Lean is a fact-of-life in today's business world. Do more with fewer resources.
Time is the biggest driver and enemy of agility. It drives customer satisfaction, responsiveness and cost. It is important to gaining competitive advantage with logistics management. Faster. Faster. Faster. Orders change, demand changes. Delivery requirements shorten,.inventory requirements change. Customers expectations increase, regulatory and complaince needs are always in the background.
Visibility is very important to agile healthcare logistics. Visibility requires systems capability to see customer orders and inventory. E-mail, faxes and phone calls do not give visibility to a warehouse. They are emergency measures and do not provide transparency. Logistics cannot manage using e-mail, especially with international suppliers.
Information technology is not the complete answer.
- Technology is one part of three parts to success.
- Processes; and
- People are two other parts.
Some make the mistake of assuming that systems will solve all problems, be a silver bullet, and are disappointed when that does not happen. It does not because of other issues with processes and/or people.
Technology is necessary. Visibility into multiple customers with multiple purchase orders is vital to managing the inbound part of the supply chain. Revising, reprioritising and amending open orders is needed to be agile and flexible to changes in inventory and customer requirements. E-mail and faxes are not the way to manage suppliers and purchase orders; technology is.
Supply Today have implemented effective business management systems that create confidence amongst staff in the capability of processes and the reliability of services, while at the same time, benefiting from improved risk management. In addition, we have an effective business management system to create the basis for continual improvement leading to increased customer satisfaction and ultimately to the success of the business.
Collaboration often centres on working with another company to better utilise transport or warehouse assets. This is a narrow view of collaboration that misses the bigger issues of being agile and the sheer complexity of a global supply chain with its many participants.
Collaboration really means working with trading parties to improve the exchange of information, the management of orders, both purchase orders and customer orders, and delivery of shipments. If lean is a rquirement, gaining the assistance of others in the supply chain makes good sense and good use of limited resources.
Collaboration can be difficult because of the confidentiality / trust issue with sharing information and the differing roles of buyer versus seller. Companies in healthcare cannot collaborate with every participant in the chain. Volume, critical needs or other selection method defines firms that could be collaboration targets.
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