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Executing with Downstream Supply Chain Partners: Systems are Your Limiting Factor!

Posted by John DiPalo on March 25, 2016

Here’s a timely example of the problem manifested in seasonal co-packaging: the business wants lift and the teams get creative and innovative, but business systems are limiting their ability to execute.

An industry-leading chocolate company’s marketing comes up with an idea for a product: Package chocolate eggs in a nest with a hen sitting on them, all wrapped nicely in a springtime barn for Easter 2016. The company already makes the eggs, but they don’t make plush hens or nests, so these have to be sourced and then sent to another company to be specially packaged together and distributed…

Post-holiday, excess inventory needs to returned and “dispositioned”.

You need to bring in third parties…everything needs to be precisely orchestrated because there’s a narrow window to the holiday season. Doing it right requires visibility into each partner’s inventory and processes, as well as the movement of the individual and combined elements through the network. So, you need to share systems. You want these partners to have a direct line into ERP so you can track finishing and packaging workflows, timeframes and handoffs for orchestration and reporting purposes.

But…in many companies that we talk to today, IT says it can’t be done. It’s too complicated, and there’s no way to connect these seasonal partners without special training, which is overkill for these one-off projects. And even if they could afford to pull someone off the floor for two days, chances are that person won’t be around next year should you want to repeat the promotion. Not only that, but in today’s sensitive security environment, a direct line exposes your data to their systems, a risk you can’t take. And these co-packagers? They operate via phone, fax and e-mail. They manually key in shipping notices. Yes, this is 2016. No, not everything is automated and interoperable.

So what do you do? You need a lightweight solution that anyone can use anywhere to collect data using the technology that is available to them, from a web portal through true machine to machine integration. That data is integrated where it needs to be and your entire partner network is now connected in real-time at a transactional level, giving you the visibility you need without all of the manual processing. That’s what Acsis Edge Network does…contact us to find out what it can do for you.