Posted by Luc Belaiche on March 4th, 2013
Managing the supply chain efficiently can be a complex and time-consuming task for any production, inventory or procurement professional. With differing forecasts supplied by sales, customers or production and in varying formats, the strain on the operations professional to manage inventory manually is huge. Moving from offline spreadsheets and processes to MRP software can help streamline your process – here’s how:
Avoid costly human errors
It is possible to manually track these forecasts through spreadsheets, but the margin for error in this method is high. Imagine if you had the wrong digit on a date – if something should be processed by the 1st not the 21st, your forecast planning would cause a ripple effect that upsets the fine balance between procurement, production, distribution and your clients expectations. This also has an impact on customer satisfaction, order fulfilment performance and ultimately where future business is placed by your client.
Gain real-time business intelligence
While you can manage inventory planning decisions offline, it can be difficult to take a top-level view of the entire process. Moving to powerful automated software means management and operations staff can create forecasts, tweak schedules and see every part of the chain in one place. If demand increases, MRP makes it much easier to see the timescales it may take for any kind of adjustment in the procurement, production, or distribution processes – whether the requirement is to ‘make to order’, ‘make to stock’ or future planned purchasing or production – to keep up with the load.
End unnecessary overstocking
Producing reports to analyse the current stock and demand situation can be a laborious process if handled offline or on spreadsheets. Having inaccurate or out-of-date records means you could be overstocking, therefore incurring unnecessary additional costs, such as storage, insurance and obsolescence. If you move your forecast and stock analysis onto an automated system, you can view the changing supply vs demand position online and also export to real-time reports or dashboards around your supplies, stock and demand with ease.
Simplify distribution planning
You might also be missing a trick with manual systems when it comes to distribution planning. Having one person in one location determining and controlling planned and actual stock transfers between locations or warehouses can prove difficult. An integrated software can greatly help monitoring inventory across locations and enable you to see at-a-glance where and when to shift stock and for anyone to see stock in transit.
A final benefit of moving from offline systems to integrated MRP software is one that your accounts department will be grateful for, in particular: integrated software can ensure that all transactions are entered once in one system, coded up correctly and can be automated where possible via fax, email, internet or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
If you are still making do with a manual inventory planning solution, perhaps it is time to take a look at the next steps you can take to save time and money in the both the day-to-day management and forecasting process. Download Lakeview’s free guide to in-depth MRP software features and benefits.