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Three ways technology can solve problems in the supply chain

Gone are the days where you can manage your supply chain partners and product quality efforts with office productivity tools, email, and manual processes.

If you’re looking for ways to mitigate risk, manage supplier compliance, and reduce product quality issues in your supply chain then you’re probably considering whether or not a Supply Chain Management (SCM) or Quality Management System (QMS) is a worthwhile investment. 

The short answer:  it is.     The long answer:  it really is. 

But why?

Below, we’ll briefly discuss three key ways that our supply chain management solution can address such issues in the supply chain. Should you wish to dive deeper and understand the ways in which it has helped leading brands like Burger King, Arby’s, Outback Steakhouse, Sonic Drive-In, and RaceTrac to name a few, check out our eBook on the topic.



The Three Ways Technology Can Solve Problems in The Supply Chain

In today’s competitive operating environment, food and beverage, hospitality, and retailers have little margin for error along the supply chain or within their locations when it comes to product quality, safety or consistency issues. Your business reputation balances on the edge of a knife; even just a small breakdown along one of the hundreds of Critical Control Points (CCPs) can lead to a loss of public trust and significant financial impact. With this in mind, if you seek to maintain quality and safety across the board, there are a number of tasks and complex issues you’ll have to wrestle with daily. And, the larger your business grows, the more visibility and control you’ll need over your supply chain, quality, and compliance related activities. 

When put simply, supply chains seem like a rather straightforward set of players and processes. They’re a cultivated network—including people, entities, resources, information, and activities—between a company and its various supply chain partners in order source, and then distribute a good or service to sell and provide to their customers. 

However, as is so often the case, it’s not as simple as it sounds. As Irfan Khan, CEO of Bristlecone, writes:

In today’s global economy, supply chains include all the people, systems, vendors, suppliers and processes involved in designing, making, selling, inventorying, shipping and delivering a product. The ever-growing complexity of getting products to an ever-expanding pool of potential consumers over multiple platforms requires ever-innovative supply chain management to maintain robust, agile systems, identify current issues and anticipating future ones.

If you are an emerging chain or are already a national or global brand - gone are the days where you can manage your supply chain partners and quality efforts simply just using office productivity tools, email and manual processes. You need a supply chain technology solution capable of:

  1. Comprehensive record management
  2. Process automation
  3. Reporting and analytics


Comprehensive Record Management

Just about any medium- to large-sized food and beverage, hospitality, or retail brand will be responsible for managing a host of supply chain related tasks, including:

  • Product Innovation and the management of product specifications
  • Sourcing raw materials and finished goods
  • Commercialization
  • Ongoing Quality Assurance and Quality Control
  • Supplier onboarding and compliance monitoring
  • Supply chain operations

Maintaining visibility, quality, safety and consistency across the board requires that you not only have a large volume of accurate, timely data, but that the data is transparent and easily accessible.  

Per Supply Chain Quarterly: "When data is poorly governed and inconsistent, supply chains become less competitive because more time and money is spent on managing information between systems and trading partners, and less is available for innovation. Good data leads to efficient supply chains, allowing resources to be spent on innovation rather than on coping with problems."

If it wasn’t already obvious, inputting and managing data manually is an incredibly inefficient and unsustainable model. And the larger your business, the more complex the record keeping and data sharing processes become. Knowing this, it’s paramount you ensure that you work with a solution provider that has a proven track record of centralizing records, keeping those records up-to-date, automating critical quality management processes, and automated record-keeping. 

The optimal system will be able to do the following:

  • Accommodate records for suppliers, distributors, service providers, products, raw materials, audits, certificates, and quality related data such as product tests, inspections, incidents, and recalls 
  • Aid with data-collection and maintaining those records over time
  • Automate record-keeping with an audit trail
  • Enforce data integrity 
  • Handle different data types and formats
  • Provide relationship management and visibility to how partners, products, and quality activities are connected
  • Integrate seamlessly with legacy systems

And, if you wish to find out more about these points, check out our eBook  for a deeper dive.


Process Automation

Dynamic supply chains are naturally vulnerable to operational inefficiencies, much in part due to the sheer number of:

  • Workflow processes and procedures
  • Data types
  • Disparate systems
  • Distributed participants

The risk of exposure and escalating costs increases for brands sourcing high-risk products and then distributing them through a decentralized supply chain.  In order to manage this complex process efficiently, you need process automation. 

The best supply chain software solutions will utilize intelligent forms, rules and workflow automation engines, notifications, and alerts to automate supply chain tasks and then execute upon them in a repeatable fashion. This accomplishes the following:

  • Automatically orchestrates the work
  • Eliminates human error
  • Reduces manual work and record keeping
  • Reduces overhead
  • Creates cost savings
  • Results in revenue benefits 
  • Improves customer experience

So, as you look for supply chain software solutions, you must first evaluate your needs, then find a partner that will optimize your Quality Assurance and Supply Chain Operations teams and provide real-time visibility and status into your various quality management and food safety programs. 


Reporting and Analytics

As businesses consider employing supply chain technology solutions, many fail to understand how essential component reporting is for any quality and safety program. All the data in the world is useless if you have no way to act upon it. So, in order to optimize processes and improve decision making along the supply chain, an effective QMS will provide both :

Record and Process Status Reporting

This falls into your more generalized data sets and updates along the supply chain. A good SCQMS will be able to automatically:

  • Identify the status of a record
  • Identify missing or expired records
  • Alert you of issues that require action
  • Update you throughout the resolution process

Business Intelligence

A system with comprehensive reporting and analytics won’t simply make accounts of processes, but will also provide actionable insights on what needs to change in order to optimize and drive further improvements. The right system will answer questions that need to be addressed before you are even aware of the fact. 

Simply put, without the proper means to easily access and then interpret data, it becomes impossible to account for trends, issues along the supply chain, or various other factors that can impact your products or services. 


CMX1 – Providing Supply Chain Quality Management Solutions 

Supply Chain Quality Management Solutions—like CMX1—seek to address the various problems any brand will encounter as they design, source, distribute, and sell or serve a product. 

In particular, the most important problems we can solve involve:

  • Automated record management and record keeping
  • Process automation for onboarding partners, managing product specifications, collecting and performing facility audits, collecting and processing ongoing product tests, resolving product quality incidents, and executing product withdrawals and recalls
  • Providing actionable insights through comprehensive dashboarding, reporting, scorecards, and analytics

So, as you consider choosing a supply chain quality management, ask yourself, “Will it help drive my business towards Quality and Operational Excellence?” This achievement involves more than simply finding the most efficient way to source and distribute products—it’s about employing a system that will empower your organization to achieve and maintain Quality Excellence and meet evolving customer expectations. 

Should you wish to learn more, we encourage you to download our short eBook. In a short 15- minute read, we provide advice we’ve gleaned from over a decade of improving supply chain and quality management processes. If you’re interested in what CMX1 can do for you, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have for us