RMG Networks Blog

During the 1980s and mid-’90s, many manufacturers began to change strategies away from the traditional concept of mass production and towards just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing. Rather than manufacturing large volumes of products and hoping  they would sell, JIT allowed for making the volume of products more closely related to actual demand.

Consequently, JIT manufacturing led to smaller production runs and more frequent deliveries of lower volumes to and from distribution centres, all in a much less predictable manner. To execute successfully on this new manufacturing strategy, it meant changes to the supply chain had to happen in accordance. The importance of distribution shifted dramatically and was critical to a company’s success in the new era.

In the world we live in today, with the rapid rise of social media, technology and Internet shopping, a new, savvier breed of consumer has emerged. The mentality has also shifted – in addition to wanting the best possible price, consumers now demand more in terms of customer satisfaction and flexibility. They expect a shorter time between ordering and delivery, and consequently, suppliers must respond. These changes put even more pressure on the distribution centres, to the point where real-time data visualization is now becoming increasingly important to help optimise and manage the complete process from manufacturing to final delivery to the customer.

Supply Chain Visualization

Manufacturers face the challenge of keeping costs as low as possible while providing the service and flexibility demanded by their customers. Having already incurred the expense and effort to make and deliver the products, it is extremely painful to the bottom line financial KPIs and customer service levels if they arrive JTL (just-too-late!). An order that is 98% picked, packed and complete, can be sent – but at what additional cost to the business and all important customer service.

From conversations around the world with customers and prospects, one of the emerging trends companies face is realising it is too important to have real-time data on business critical events just sitting on a manager or supervisor’s desktop or mobile device where they may not be in the right place to act upon the information.

Visual communications of real-time information made available and displayed that can actually change behaviours at the point of impact are playing an increasingly important role in today’s supply chains. Let’s consider distribution centres, where a greater understanding of productivity, speed and flow can help manage the pressures of increased demand intensity. Within a distribution centre or fulfilment centre, there are many tracking systems and supply chain management solutions that ultimately must be able to provide information on a specific product and its whereabouts within the facility. There are many measurements that help determine the overall efficiency and productivity of a supply chain, including metrics measuring wave efficiency, optimal product flow and overall labour productivity.

Today’s supply chain managers need to know units picked per hour (by line or work cell, or better yet – by individual) and where product flow is impacted (via exceptions like blocked chutes or missing totes); and, they need this information when and exactly where it occurs. All of these measurements, collected in real time and displayed on the distribution or fulfilment centre floor when they occur, can translate into time and money saved.

When visualised on large scoreboards, desktop dashboards or even on mobile devices, these real-time metrics can result in immediate decisions that can impact today’s results before the shift ends and before overtime is realised.

Supply Chain Visibility of Real-time Metrics

RMG NetworksTM helps world-leading brands across manufacturing, consumer goods, food and beverage, retail (grocery, department store, apparel, big box) and chemical to take greater control of their distribution locally, regionally and globally. RMG’s supply chain visualisation solutions allow companies to realise an increase in the benefits of reliability, service levels, value for their money, customer service and flexibility.

Are you thinking of starting or have started a review of your distribution centres? Or, do you have questions about your KPIs such as picking, packing, pallet-building, line and labour productivity, customer service or flexibility? Perhaps you are one of the fortunate few companies getting maximum value from your current supply chain network and just want a sanity check to reconfirm.

For any of these situations, RMG Networks can help maximise the value of your supply chain operations with real-time data visualisation. For more information, visit our website or contact us today.

From increasing the efficiency of distribution centres to helping the flow of information for global scale industrial projects, RMG Networks digital signage solutions for supply chains reduce costs, improve timelines, increase service levels and ensure collaboration that allows businesses to simply compelling information.

Supply Chain White Paper


About the Author:

Trevor Long is a Business Development Director for Supply Chain Solutions for RMG Networks’ EMEA operations. Trevor has over 20 years’ experience in providing strategic solutions to simply compelling information for businesses. Connect with Trevor on LinkedIn

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