Supply chains are not just networks converting raw materials to finished goods. It’s time to look at supply chains more holistically. They are entities involving suppliers, manufacturers, customers, and most importantly, information.
Back in the day, it was much easier to handle supply-chain operations, given the fact that their environment was pretty much stable and involved straightforward business models. But today, with unpredictable business cycles, compliance laws, and customer-satisfaction KPIs, global supply-chain strategies need to be reinvented rather frequently. Today, supply-chain strategies should be more about uniting product, people, process, and information.
While digitization is the key in this age, bottom-line improvements will require businesses to collaborate, connect, share, and assess all their operations and business units. Cloud technology can transform a supply chain to coordinate between its units without incurring much overheads. That makes a significant impact on supply-chain operations, starting with connectivity and real-time collaboration.
The major breakthrough comes due to shifting from a silos-based workflow. Seamless integration lets businesses to quickly and effectively accommodate changing customer demands. With a single-point view of business operations in real time and by consolidating all information, you gain visibility into operations. That is a system which will allow you to make the best decisions possible.
Data and decision making
Supply-chain operations deal in data, but it is of no use unless you have access to analytical capabilities. Cloud technologies with their rich analytical tools and cognitive technologies convert millions of points of data into valuable insights about business processes. Thus, you gain information about the overall working of the supply chain network without having to hire expensive data crunchers.
Your vendor can develop applications to be easily and expeditiously integrated with other functions. Not too much of setup or modification is required, which means you drive away wastage of precious time, money, and manpower. Cloud-based platforms ensure that the necessary applications are fully capable of integration across your value chain.
Smooth functioning of your system
Outages and downtimes can lead to business losses. But technical glitches have become a thing of the past with shared servers, which is the basic concept on which any cloud application runs. Isolated localized systems are more vulnerable and increase the risk of partners and customers losing their interface. Without uninterrupted services, customers also lose faith. In a world that survives on competitive advantage, such a risk is never worth taking. Besides, global networks make it necessary to have a system which allows people to access it from anywhere.
Accommodating your own growth
Scalability is another deciding factor of business success. However, in traditional supply chains, managers need to analyze multiple risks even before making small modifications. If your business requires you to add suppliers, for example, you need to consider the implications of such a decision on other functions. As a result, risk-assessment applications need to be updated frequently. In that context, cloud hosting can be a life saver. It is not about just plugging in a few lines of additional code, but seeing to it that they are compatible with your existing system, which in turn, can also be placed on cloud.
Cloud allows companies to reduce costs relatively as the customer base expands. A self-administered data-storage network, complete with management software, system administrators, and integration with your local systems can really swing you out of budget when you add up the costs of equipment, personnel, and time. Off-shore development, when required, is hardly possible. On the other hand, cloud helps you by distributing the cost among you and other users that need the service. It is time to develop affordable methods for business, which might not otherwise have the same capacity.
Several technological and financial benefits have led cloud technologies to become an attractive proposition for businesses looking to up their supply chain operations. Customers want high-quality products, and businesses want low cost of operations and zero administrative work. Keeping in mind your business objectives, cloud technologies can be a game changer for your supply-chain operations.