Supply Chain Management: How Automation Can Help

What is supply chain management? 

Supply chain management encompasses the coordination of all operations across the supply chain in order for a company to deliver products and services to its customers.


Components of supply chain management 


Effective supply chain planning is essential for balancing supply and demand, optimizing resources and reducing lead times to meet customer expectations. The planning process involves demand planning using historical sales data to forecast demand for products and production planning creating production schedules to allocate resources to manufacture enough products to meet this. 


Sourcing covers identifying business purchase needs and assessing the market to evaluate and select suppliers that can provide a reliable and cost-effective supply of materials needed for production. The process involves gathering information from multiple potential suppliers and evaluating each based on costs, quality and capacity, then negotiating contracts and establishing supplier relationships.   


This involves coordinating the manufacturing process to ensure that products meet quality standards and are produced efficiently and cost-effectively with minimal waste. 


Logistics involves the movement and storage of products through the supply chain and delivery to customers. Planning logistics effectively minimizes lead times and reduces overall operational costs.


Why is supply chain management important? 

Effective supply chain management forms an essential part of your business's success. It allows you to:  

- Control costs and cash flow  

- Meet growing customer expectations  

- Mitigate risk  

- Ensure compliance  

- Control quality  

Unfortunately, many systems that are used for supply chain management are outdated and inefficient, making it harder for supply chain managers to deal with:  

- Rising costs across the entire supply chain  

- Repeated disruption to the movement of goods  

- Managing pricing and profit margins alongside inflation  

- Unexpected fluctuations in demand   

- Industry regulations that can change without notice  

- Disconnected systems that create gaps in their tech stack  

- An increasing need for sustainability  

But all the above challenges can be solved by automating processes using a low-code process automation platform, so you can deliver results that keep your business competitive and your customers happy.


Benefits of supply chain management 

Better supplier relationships 

Fostering communication and collaboration across suppliers can lead to greater negotiation power and improved service levels. 

Enhanced customer satisfaction 

Accurately forecasting demand to ensure product availability and streamlining logistics for faster order processing and delivery provides a positive customer experience. 

Greater compliance 

Visibility of all elements of the supply chain enables organizations to ensure that they and their suppliers are compliant with various laws and regulations minimizing the risk of disruption and legal action. 

Informed decision-making 

Having access to data from across the supply chain enables supply chain managers to analyze performance metrics, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions about supply chain optimization. 

Enhanced agility 

Managing each component of the supply chain enables organizations to make changes in response to market conditions or fluctuations in consumer demand more easily.


How can automation improve supply chain management?  

Using low-code technology to automate tasks across operations helps you improve efficiency and resilience and tackle supply chain challenges. By orchestrating people, systems and processes across the supply chain, you’ll open the door to a variety of benefits.  

Increased visibility  

Implementing automated enterprise apps helps you get to grips with your supply chain data, giving you visibility of where the bottlenecks are. It allows for improved information sharing between stakeholders, suppliers, distributors, and retailers, helping to improve the efficiency of your supply chain operations. Managing your master data is one example of that, making sure that you have a single version of the truth and that everyone is looking at the same information.  

Better connections  

Using process automation will eliminate silos and connect your people, processes, and technology. Right now communication and handover points are filled with gaps that make it easy for things to fall between the cracks. These improved connections lead to better consistency and efficiency across the supply chain.

Fewer errors  

Disruption often leads to the introduction of manual steps that bridge the gaps when systems don’t support the changes that are needed. But these manual actions bring mistakes and delays. By using apps to put clearly governed processes in place and automate as many steps as possible you can reduce the risk of human error and the impact it can have on your organization.   

Improved performance with analytics  

When your supply chain processes are unified, you unlock a vast amount of data that can provide powerful insights into your operations. From sourcing to distribution, you’ll be able to see how your supply chain is performing and, more importantly, where you can make improvements to your operations. Connected insights will also help you increase forecasting accuracy and mitigate risks before they can affect your operations.   

Respond to change  

Modern apps are much easier to adapt than the legacy systems so many organizations depend on. Most companies are now using modern platforms to add an agile layer on top of existing systems, giving the agility of modern technology without having to rip and replace business critical systems in multi-year projects. In today’s supply chains this agility is vital. Organizations face constant changes in customer expectations, demand and regulations. 

Discover more about using automation to manage supply chain operations in our Strategic Guide to Supply Chain Automation For Manufacturing & Retail ebook.


How global brands are using automation in supply chain management  

From aiding long-term planning to simplifying the returns process, automation is helping businesses to transform their supply chain management.   

adidas use Bizagi’s low-code technology to improve how they source goods from suppliers and are enjoying a 60% reduction in their operational costs. They achieved this by connecting siloed departments, centralizing supplier data, and making their platform more efficient and user-friendly. Read the full story to find out how they reduced time-to-market by two thirds.   

NRF, a Dutch radiator factory, used automation to speed up the manufacturing process, halving the lead time to complete an order. This success was largely down to the complete digitization of product workflows and the elimination of manual admin tasks caused by gaps in their legacy systems.    

Automation also improves the delivery phase of the supply chain. The Central American Bottling Corporation processes over 200 million transactions each year. With process automation, they are now meeting 100% of their delivery SLAs, even delivering to new customers within 24 hours.


The low-code approach to supply chain management software  

Every supply chain is different, so the best way to fill the gaps in your supply chain is with solutions designed for your business. Using a low-code platform to create apps to meet your exact needs is a powerful and popular approach. Find out more about building apps in Bizagi that orchestrate your supply chain operations here