In recent times, the general public has gained a heightened awareness of quite a few new topics that no one would have ever anticipated. Certainly, politics have taken a prominent place in many people’s lives in recent years, regardless of your party affiliation. There can be no doubt that far more people understand the nuts and bolts of impeachment proceedings now than they have in at least two decades. Simply remembering or discovering that impeachment in and of itself isn’t automatic removal from office probably came as a revelation to many. In medicine, there are certainly far more armchair doctors out there now than ever before. Don’t ask us what RNA is, but we’ve certainly had more casual conversations about it than is reasonable for anyone without a PhD. And the fact that many non-investors can almost competently explain what shorting a stock means thanks to Gamestop of all companies, it’s safe to say we live in extraordinary times. And now due to a combination of a little bit of all of the above along with astronomical demand of at-home distractions such as video gaming (think Sony’s new Playstation 5, the Nintendo Switch, and Nvidia’s RTX 3080 GPU), the concept of shortages, the supply chain, and the complexity that goes into delivering a final product to a mass audience has itself become the stuff of casual small talk.
Supply Chain Issues
Most laypeople understand the general idea of supply and demand in simple terms. The revelation here comes when trying to wrap your mind around the myriad of factors that effect supply. Beyond “I have no bread to make this bologna sandwich,” the supply chain is composed of a far greater universe of factors. Was enough wheat harvested this season? What about eggs, butter, yeast, and flour? Are the tractors, combines, and trucks that move these materials around doing so efficiently? At what capacity are the mixers and ovens doing their thing? And how quickly and sanitarily are those loaves making it to store shelves? Any one of these factors going sideways could adversely impact the entire process and product, leading to shortages or recalls. A whole lot of management goes into whether or not we have that bread for our bologna sandwiches.
This is where Supply Chain Management (SCM) comes into focus. No one wants to leave the status of their bologna sandwiches to chance. Instead, companies hire supply chain managers to coordinate the hurricane of chaos occurring between the dozens of disparate companies involved in the flow of goods and services. SCM aims to keep tighter control of inventories, production, and distribution in service of managing excess costs and delivering products to consumers faster. The supply chain manager’s responsibilities include strategy, raw materials sourcing, productivity and efficiency of manufacturing, and delivery logistics. The reach of SCM goes even further beyond typical farm machinery and the assembly line processes that may come to mind.
The Evolution Of SCM Technology
We are, after all, in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. With the evolution of enterprise resource planning (ERP), manufacturing execution systems (MES), manufacturing operations management (MOM), and the industrial internet of things (IIOT), computer technology doesn’t exist only to serve the best funny cat videos directly to our smartphones in glorious 4K. Technology makes automation and fact-based granular data analytics possible. Supply chain managers are no longer solely focused on environmental factors and equipment efficiencies, but in taking account of the micro view of the supply chain made possible by advances in monitoring devices and analytics systems.
This heightened appreciation of the micro is made possible by material ledger, a novel approach to intelligently tracking material and energy movement and transformation, their associated monetary value, process data, and quality data. Material ledger provides tighter control than ever before, granting even greater visibility, automation, and decision-making power over SCM and the flow of goods.
Supply Chain Visibility And Analytics By ThinkIQ
ThinkIQ’s material ledger solution modernizes companies’ SCM into mission-critical Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing. Utilizing ThinkIQ’s SCM solution, General Mills has doubled production yield from 45 percent to 90 percent, achieved 99.999 percent elimination of recalls, and generated more than $40 million in operation savings. McCain frozen foods was able to integrate legacy manufacturing systems into its ThinkIQ process model to obtain the manufacturing data context and analysis that spurred an 8 percent gain in yield, 5 points higher than the initial goal of 3 percent.
Despite the many hiccups we’ve experienced in supply chains across a multitude of industries during the pandemic, we have grown stronger and more resilient out of necessity thanks to great strides in technology. Much as Zoom exploded as the need to work and meet remotely became necessary, ThinkIQ is advancing supply chain management to levels of efficiency previously unheard of.
So back to the original query: What is supply chain management? In a nutshell, it is the centralized management of the harvesting, manufacturing, and movement of a product that meets quality standards in a fast, highly efficient way. And now with new quantum leaps in smart manufacturing, SCM includes unprecedented material traceability and insights that vastly improve yield, quality, safety, compliance, and brand confidence while also reducing waste and environmental impact.
Now consider again, do you really have everything you need to make that bologna sandwich?
Contact us today to learn more about how this transformational technology can help reduce waste at the source or you can download our new eBook titled "Advanced Material Traceability Revolutionizes Digital Transformation"