Did you know that about one third of the invoices retailers receive from their vendors have some type of discrepancy with the actual order received. If that is surprising, what's even more alarming is the time it can take to track down and fix the error – time that translates into, money of course.
As supply chains grow in size and importance, your company will need to pay closer attention to production facilities around the world. What if a disaster forced a shut down at a critical plant thousands of miles from your headquarters? Do you have a process in place to deal with it?
One ‘hot’ phrase that won’t go away any time soon is ‘omni-channel’. Why should it? It’s in the process of changing the way you shop and buy as a consumer, and if you’re involved in eCommerce or the supply chain, it’s having a big effect on your work as well.
You've read all five of my horror stories and I hope you've thought about your own business, and to make sure everything is in order. Are all of your systems running as efficiently and as smoothly as you would like? Are there areas that you now see could be a weak spot, areas that you should take a second look at? That's where your thoughts should be leading you at this point.
I’ve made a lot of friends in my consulting travels, some of whom keep in touch by running various business problems by me. I received a note from one of my old contacts the other day that read like this:
Advance shipping notices (ASNs) can drive up efficiencies and accuracies by reducing discrepancies – which experts estimate happen about 30 percent of the time -- between invoices and the orders a retailer receives. That's because ASNs provide the retailer with detailed information on how the goods were packed for shipment, how many items are in the shipment, as well as product descriptions, carrier information, and even order information. ASNs also alert retailers that the goods have been shipped so they are ready to receive them.
Vigilant management of transportation and finding the most optimal movement for their shipments is something manufacturers and retailers need to think about today more than ever. In order to work with partners to switch away from prepaid to collect freight terms, they must have a process in place to manage these shipments. This generally means investing in a Transportation Management System (TMS), which is used to calculate the scheduled inbound shipments and build out a trailer.
A distribution company called me in to do a review of their EDI processes, and look for things that they might be doing wrong. The review was just a precaution. However, since the distribution company was doing well, they assumed that everything was going along smoothly as far as their EDI was concerned.
There's a recurring problem here as you may already be picking up on. Problems start small and get out of hand quickly. My next horror story takes place at a mid sized manufacturing company, whose problems snuck up on them when they least expected it. This company was sitting on top of the world. They had prepared themselves for EDI problems. They had done their research, and heard the other horror stories. They decided to take matters into their own hands, and circumvent their own technology in an attempt to "beat" any EDI problems that might arise.