In an article titled Supply Chain Management Is Information Management, Fast Company magazine noted that information system applications for SCM "are designed to let you use information even more effectively, to let you see how you can manage the supply chain to optimize revenues, cash flow, and customer satisfaction."
Then supply chain applications evolved as technology progressed, and pandemic disruptions revealed weak links in the traditional model.
A Deloitte report addresses these issues.
Expanding Role and Scope of SCM Information Systems
New technologies were challenging the traditional supply chain model before COVID-19, the Deloitte report says. This new integrated model expands information systems into digital supply networks (DSNs) that enable "end-to-end visibility, collaboration, agility, and optimization" that can anticipate challenges. More digital tools are emerging that will "dramatically improve visibility across the end-to-end supply chain."
The COVID-19 pandemic showed that many companies are not cognizant of the vulnerability of their supply chain. Instituting SCM information systems can help support companies' ability to resist shocks like those caused by COVID-19.
Need for Integration of SCM Information With Other Operational Processes
In addition to technological advances, changes in customer expectations are driving the need for integrated supply management, concludes a post on the DirectiveGroup website.
"Digitization of business processes has become more of a necessity than a value-add proposition. This has increased the requirement for creating a digital environment that seamlessly integrates the operations carried out by various entities in the supply chain."
Integration, the post says, enables "businesses to build end-to-end supply chain solutions that speed up processes and avoid bottlenecks in the supply chain," plus they help perform these functions across the supply chain continuum:
To Increase Control of Production
Information technology can provide transparency throughout the process, which improves visibility and accountability for manufacturers. It's important for manufacturers to have clear sight of the in-production stages so they can anticipate and correct potential issues.
To Better Manage Inventory
Manufacturers can use information technology to adapt flexible business processes to manage a range of demand scenarios and maintain optimal inventory levels. This helps avoid waste due to excess inventory, or the need for increased working capital to acquire additional inventory.
To Improve Collaboration Between Supply Chain Partners
Information technology enables real-time information sharing, which helps manufacturers strengthen collaboration with key partners. Visibility to information helps manufacturers make more informed decisions and better forecast demand, which can result in cost savings.
To More Effectively Track and Deliver Orders
Using information technology, companies can automatically track orders and notify partners and customers about the status of processes and deliveries. These capabilities can also be used to interact with logistics providers for real-time updates on shipments of inventory and product.
Net results of using information systems in supply chain management include:
- Lower product costs
- Reduced working capital
- Higher customer satisfaction
With such valuable potential results from technology, many MBA programs in supply chain management offer a course in management information systems. Among such programs is the 100% online Master of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management from the University of North Carolina Pembroke.
UNCP's MIS course provides conceptual and practical foundations of information systems support for management and decision-making functions, computer system project management, economic and legal considerations of information systems, and system implementation and evaluation.
The UNCP MBA supply chain curriculum also covers all of the other foundational business knowledge and skills to thoroughly prepare effective leaders for today's digital supply networks.
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