Five ways to future-proof your supply chain
24 September 2018
TEKLYNX Global Marketing Director Jenna Wagner details strategic imperatives for future-proofing your organisation’s supply chain.
Continued supply chain globalisation and its related complexities have all but consumed supply chain decision-makers as they look to meet marketplace demands. Now perhaps an even bigger challenge lies ahead as companies look to prepare for the supply chain of the future. Here are five areas that provide a strategic framework for future-proofing your supply chain, including a look at how barcode label design software can play a major role in doing so.
- Automate. Historically, companies have looked to automation to drive efficiencies in machinery, hardware and operational processes driven by lean manufacturing or Six Sigma initiatives, but future-proofing supply chains will require organisations to look well beyond these areas. Organisations should explore software automation because many seemingly simple, highly repetitive activities can be automated with software. Automating label management can eliminate manual data entry, improving labelling speed and accuracy. Print automation using a browser-based interface or the added ability to print a label with a quick scan from a handheld scanner can also improve labelling speed and accuracy. Benefits from these modifications emphasise the importance of exploring software automation opportunities to improve supply chain performance.
- Integrate. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are well known for their ability to integrate key business functions and information in the form of efficiency, but future-proofing your supply chain will require a closer look at next-level system integrations. Existing ancillary systems and software solutions such as barcode label design software can often be integrated with ERPs or other business systems to streamline databases, support and manage variable data, improve workflow and eliminate redundancies. These integrations not only drive efficiency, but also better position organisations to meet the growing demands for supply chain accuracy, visibility and speed on a global scale.
- Consolidate. Supply chains continue to grow in complexity, but that doesn’t mean your infrastructure that supports them has to. Look to simplify operations because when it comes to supply chain partners, systems and technologies, organisations should favour quality over quantity. Within label management, many organisations are shifting from static label file management to label templates allowing for better control and ease of label file management and ongoing label maintenance. Beyond technologies and systems, companies should consolidate supply chain decision-making to ensure the right individuals are positioned to make necessary decisions in a timely fashion, as non-value-added approvals and oversight can interfere with your ability to meet customer expectations.
- Regulate. Future-proofing your supply chain must factor in the impact of regulations, as critical issues such as safety, traceability and security continue to take centre stage across industries. Regulations have a major impact on supply chain operations and future-proofing means preparing for regulations that are current, proposed and not yet imagined. Compliance with regulations such as EU allergen labelling requirements, EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR) and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) create a ripple effect throughout the supply chain and present the strongest case yet for the need to design agile supply chains. Organisations should look for technology solutions that can quickly respond to changes and scale when needed. Within labelling, start by evaluating your current label management process in terms of how responsive it is to change. Database integrations, centralisation of label file management and label file version control are just some of the important areas to consider when designing for responsiveness.
- Collaborate. The final way to future-proof your supply chain is with collaboration. In my experience, the most successful supply chain initiatives within label management happen when there is collaboration and communication between IT, Quality Assurance, Product Management, Supply Chain and supporting vendors. Strong collaboration results in a solution that works for all departments involved in the supply chain’s success, now and well into the future.
Organisations can leverage the areas detailed above to prepare for the supply chain of the future. From automation to collaboration, continued focus on supply chain improvements will help companies meet customer requirements, react to demand and realise a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Download TEKLYNX’s Four Signs Your Business Should Implement Enterprise Label Management to learn more about how changes to your labelling environment can improve your supply chain.
About TEKLYNX International
TEKLYNX International is the world’s leading barcode and RFID labelling software developer and solutions provider. An industry innovator for over 30 years, TEKLYNX helps companies operate smoothly and efficiently by implementing labelling solutions that streamline operations while staying ahead of industry-specific compliance and emerging regulations. TEKLYNX is world-renowned for its customer service, offering flexible purchase options, unparalleled service and support, and a comprehensive product offering that grows with companies over time. With operations in the United States, Europe, Japan, Latin America, China and Singapore, more than 630,000 companies in over 120 countries look to TEKLYNX integrated software solutions for their standard of success. Learn more by visiting teklynx.com.