One of the biggest challenges facing organizations today is operational silos that prevent companies from acting with the speed and agility necessary in today’s volatile, consumer-driven marketplace. This is critical because those who cannot keep up with fast-changing customer demand will lose customers and market share.
Following classic management principles, most companies are structured into divisions, departments, locations and other groupings based on product, function and/or geography. While this makes a lot of sense from a financial reporting and people management perspective, it significantly hampers the flow of work across these organizational boundaries.
Perhaps nowhere are these silos a bigger problem than in supply chain operations where materials, parts, goods and information flow across vast networks of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and customers. And within organizations, products and/or information flow from planning to procurement to receiving to manufacturing to distribution to logistics. It’s all about the flow.
Unfortunately, supporting systems have been built in silos as well – planning systems, procurement systems, manufacturing systems, distribution systems and transportation systems, for example. While these systems may pass information from one to another, it is sort of like the old party game where the first person in a chain passes a message to the person next to them, who passes it on to the next person, and so on until the last person in the chain receives a completely garbled version of the original message. Of course, that is just a game and nobody cares about the errors in translation. Not so in supply chain operations where errors cost money, slow operations and reduce service levels.
The problems within functional silos can go even deeper. Often an employee will have to work with multiple systems to complete their tasks, for example, working with demand planning and inventory optimization systems, or with fulfillment and transportation systems. Not only do they have to access separate systems, typically with different formats, naming conventions and user interfaces, but they also must navigate to the proper screens to continue their work, hoping the necessary data was interfaced correctly or faced with having to re-enter the data. This is both time-consuming and error-prone.
But what if the associate could simply follow predetermined workflows across multiple systems based on their role and the task they were performing? The data would automatically flow with them from a common database and there would be one common user interface. There would be no worry about re-entering or interfacing data (which is a major cause of data accuracy problems), no need to access multiple systems, formats and user interfaces, and no lost time navigating to the right screens before they can continue their work.
If this sounds too good to be true, it’s not. Check out the role- and task-based workflow capabilities built into JDA’s advanced supply chain platform JDA eight. It obliterates the silos to improve productivity and throughput, reduce errors, and make supply chain operations more agile and responsive – exactly what is needed to succeed in today’s rapidly changing, consumer-driven marketplace.