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Supply chain visibility software is key for global manufacturers

Manufacturers need supply chain visibility software to stay ahead of issues in the supply chain. This visibility is even more crucial in ever-changing global manufacturing environments.

Supply chain visibility software gives manufacturers more time to react to issues that come up in their supply chain. The end result, said Anil Gupta, principal of Applications Marketing Group: "You make better decisions, optimize the supply chain better and meet objectives better."

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Different parts of supply chain software work to provide manufacturers the visibility they need.

Event management and supply chain planning functionality both provide a broad and deep view of the supply chain. In a long, global chain, for example, event management might report each step in the process, starting with when a part leaves a warehouse to when it passes through customs. This information lets manufacturers monitor the process on a daily basis so they can readjust plans quickly.

Collaborative tools in supply chain visibility software offer companies more information about their suppliers' pipelines -- such as what orders vendors are shipping or whether they are going to make delivery requirements, Gupta said. In a global manufacturing environment, this global supply chain visibility reduces supply chain risk by helping companies meet critical manufacturing objectives such as on-time delivery and quarterly revenue and production goals.

For manufacturers governed by compliance regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, supply chain visibility software reporting features help meet requirements that manufacturers demonstrate sufficient control over their supply chain to ensure there's no fraud in their corporate environment," said Gupta. The supply chain isn't something that gets audited, he says, so software can help manufacturers see into their suppliers' processes to ensure that they are meeting compliance standards.

"They must proactively address that," he said. If there is not adequate visibility or good information between suppliers, manufacturers must ask, "How do I fill these holes and reduce the overall risk my company faces from the supply chain? Companies might have faced a risk they didn't know about because of their supply chain."

About the author: Christine Cignoli is a Boston-based freelance writer who covers IT infrastructures and storage technology. She is a regular contributor to SearchManufacturingERP. Contact her through her website.

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