In a global buyers’ market influenced by low-wage competitors in developing countries, the need to reduce costs drives many manufacturers to seek efficiencies anywhere they can find them, including reductions in inventories, outsourcing, and new partnerships with downstream service and third-party logistics providers. Each can represent an effective strategy for cost or quality control, but also introduce new challenges of transparency and communication. Global manufacturers need to connect not only with their own network of facilities, but also with other key supply chain partners. And as more warehouse and logistics management moves outside the scope of internal control, companies deal with greater risk of misplaced goods, costly transportation mistakes, and traceability errors or gaps through multi-tier distribution systems.
Meeting this - or any other challenges already discussed in previous articles - demands much greater two-way communication and collaboration throughout an organization and between all participants in its supply chain, despite increasing supply chain complexity. Knowledge that exists anywhere in the company or the supply chain must be easily accessible to partners both upstream and downstream so they can respond to changes, improve decision making, and safeguard customer satisfaction.
Microsoft Dynamics AX offers a wealth of tools to streamline and automate processes throughout your supply chain operations, including purchasing, warehouse, and logistics activities. One-time data entry and real-time visibility—both internally and with trading partners in the supply chain—can mean fewer errors and less wasted time. Extend the transparent data delivered by Microsoft Dynamics AX to the people and organizations that help your supply chain succeed. By giving customers, suppliers, and logistics providers direct access to order status, inventory records, load plans, shipment information—whatever data is needed—you can save time, avoid redundant data entry, automate supply chain interactions, respond more quickly to change, and increase customer satisfaction.
With Microsoft Dynamics AX, businesses can:
- Optimize warehouse operations from automated receiving and directed put-away through timely materials draws and electronic Kanban systems.
- Synchronize the movement of goods and materials to achieve just-in-time shop floor or distribution center provisioning.
- Consolidate pick/pack activities, generate labels effortlessly, and easily prepare shipments or build loads.
- Automatically create manifests and send advance shipping notifications (ASNs) and proof of delivery.
- Track shipments and provide customers with self-service access to the status of their goods.
- Reduce order-to-cash and procurement-to-cash cycles by eliminating manual procedures and data delays between supply chain activities and invoicing.
Proactive event management keeps managers and employees on top of the flow of goods and information and helps avoid costly exceptions and missed deliveries. People internally and throughout the supply chain can receive automated alerts and notifications for a variety of conditions ranging from cost changes and order updates to purchase order approval and task completion. When such information quickly reaches the appropriate people and partners, they can take action to keep deliveries on track and provide the service that builds customer loyalty. And since Microsoft Dynamics AX works like and with your familiar Microsoft Office system software, including Outlook, you can save time and money on training and people can get working more effectively after a shorter learning curve. People in your organization can extract and share product and operational information by using familiar desktop tools such as Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Microsoft Office Project, Microsoft Office Visio, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint.
When your business management solution is familiar and easy to use, your people are free to focus on customer satisfaction. And when you and your trade partners can swap information in formats and files that they use themselves, everyone is better able to add value and respond to changes.