September 7, 2021

Does your supply chain have New Year’s plans? Automation and other considerations for 2022

While we’re all still trying to shake off the effects of the past 18 months, it is once again time to set our intentions for the new year. The current journey around the sun is about 75% complete, and whether we’re ready or not, 2022 is staring us in the face asking, “What’ve you got? Plans? Schemes? Hopes? Dreams?”

Regardless of which industry you’re looking to lead, to achieve your goals for 2022 and beyond, there are a few things worth keeping top of mind: programmed efficiency, data-driven decisions and realistic growth.

Sales order automation: programming efficiency and fighting adversity

Has there ever been a better time to prioritize sales order automation? Unexpected crises have a way of exposing weak links and operational processes overdue for an upgrade. But while COVID-19 has morphed and adapted and is again wreaking havoc on supply chains, such wakeup calls aren’t restricted to once-in-a-lifetime global pandemics. More often it’s things like a labor strike that impacts a supplier, or a seasonal storm that levels a community and paralyzes a workforce for several weeks.

Of course, your ordering process can’t prevent a hurricane. Stuff happens. But if you streamline and optimize your fundamental, mission-critical functions, you’ll be better positioned to handle adversity. And, obviously, that much healthier under normal operating conditions.

Sales order automation is a smart, effective and relatively easy way to reduce errors, lower operating expenses, accelerate revenue generation and improve the customer experience. No matter the circumstances. Think of it as programming yourself for success. And preparing for the unexpected when it inevitably arrives.

Better Data = Better Decision Making

What do we mean by “better data”? First of all, it’s important that you obtain data. Without it, how would you know what to improve, enhance, scale back or eliminate? Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of data to analyze. Your supply chain is generating it constantly. Living inside all the orders, shipments, deliveries, purchases, inventory, forecasts and processes are invaluable insights. Once you’re able to put your eyes on all that intelligence, in real time, it can help you attack critical initiatives like, among others, streamlining operations, reducing risk exposure, speeding up ROI and improving customer retention.

For the coming year, make it a priority to plug into mission-critical supply chain data and stay there, so you’re always informed and ready to act at a moment’s notice.

Achieving Realistic Growth

This is everyone’s goal. But how realistic is it for you? Are you sure you’re prepared to take on that new game-changer account? Can you handle the big increase in production you’re proposing? Do you have the money and manpower required to make real growth happen?

The good news is, addressing those questions doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You may already have the necessary resources and people, but just need to fine-tune your processes. For example, connecting digitally with your suppliers and automating your sourcing and procurement functions will drive efficiencies and reduce errors, allowing you to buy with more confidence and manage inventory more intelligently. Exactly what you want when taking on more business.

When asking those tough questions above about your readiness for real growth, even if you find that you’re not ideally equipped right this moment to achieve your lofty goals, that’s okay. There are ways to make digestible, incremental changes that will have an immediate impact and get you well on your way to hitting those ambitious targets you’ve laid out for the near future.

Optimize for 2022

Regardless of your chosen industry and whatever you’re buying, selling, shipping or receiving, your supply chain is a complex operation. Optimizing it requires assessment, identification of pain points and problem areas, prioritization of needs and issues and then a solution that works for your specific operation. To learn more about the process, check out this webinar on digital transformation. It addresses each challenge and provides logical steps you can take to be successful.