Introducing Access Group's supply chain video series

Written by: Ian Roper

Access Group has recently released a series of videos designed to visualise supply chain management solutions along with the benefits and their role within a business’s supply chain.

There are four core areas; manufacturing, warehousing, production planning and scheduling and supply chain financials.  

Access Groups’ flexible supply chain solutions are designed to be standalone, seamlessly connected for end-to-end management or to be packaged to work alongside your existing software. More than 2,000 UK supply chain operators use Access Group to improve their performance and profitability, gain competitive advantage and drive growth through improved business insight. 

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The inventory challenge

Written by: Ian Roper

The effects of all this on inventory carrying policy are contradictory. On the one hand, with the cost of money at historic lows, so are the direct costs of carrying inventory. Global competition means that in many cases sales are as dependent, or more so, on availability and fulfilment than they are on design, price or quality so the temptation must be to increase stocks of finished goods.

The practice ‘postponement’ – of keeping stocks of near-finished goods close to the customer base – tends to increase stocks levels. Globalisation has in any case and almost inevitably increased the amount of inventory on the high seas or sitting dockside while the vulnerability of supply chains to external risks may make it attractive to increase bigger stocks throughout the chain.

But the indirect costs of excess inventory haven’t gone away – if anything, they have increase. Fickle demand and short life cycles mean that excess stocks of finished goods may be unsaleable in any sensible market – there may be no clearing price for last year’s mobile phone or last season’s frock, while materials and components may have become obsolete before they have been used – in extreme cases, before they have been received.

Damage, deterioration and pilferage are very present dangers, and perhaps most important, if intangible, excess stock encourages complacent and sloppy operation. ‘Buffer stock’ becomes a synonym for comfort zone.

Moreover, there may be even more inventory than is apparent: ‘returns’ in many industries are now very significant but this stock can effectively disappear for long periods and so is not available to any planning system.

Find more information on how you can enhance your inventory management with APS read Access Group’s latest free planning and scheduling whitepaper: ‘The blue print for inventory reduction’, or get in touch.

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  • 27 August 2015

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    26 August 2015

    US, California based, La Sierra University has inv…

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  • 25 August 2015

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    17 August 2015

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What is inventory management to you, to your business?

Written by: Ian Roper

Is inventory becoming less of an asset and more a source of cost, risk and inefficiency? These are becoming familiar problems for manufactures and supply chain partners – many organisations are now looking at technology to benefit their business objectives and simplify complexities.

What is becoming apparent is that supply chain complexities are changing, through outsourcing, offshoring and globalisation – which is making businesses more vulnerable to a whole host of risks. Furthermore, expectations fuelled by the internet makes consumer and therefore business demand far more volatile and unpredictable.

While the effects of all this on inventory carrying policy are contradictory, the indirect costs of excess inventory remain. It is crucial to remain relevant during fluid market conditions, varying supply chain environments and increasing customer expectations.

If inventory still needs to be driven down to its minimum through accurate, robust and timely planning and scheduling practice, and with little risk, cost and waste as possible. It will become apparent that outdated, underperforming manual methods and spreadsheets simply cannot keep pace of today’s expectations and standards. When an ERP system might be too course grained for your needs, it’s time to look at your options.

One of the most favourable options available to combat the inventory management burden is an Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) system. A solution that can tackle bottlenecks in Work In Progress, warehousing operations and transport. The system is able to recognise all inventory available– including pending stock on order and returns.

An APS provides the ability to produce reports and flag up problems if it should occur. This is vital to ensuring your supply chain is geared for these rapidly evolving market conditions. An APS should also offer seamless integration to help provide answers to decision makers fast.

Such a system can contribute significantly to controlling inventory and growing your business through efficiency and supply chain satisfaction.

If replacing inefficient, error prone and time consuming spreadsheets with a visual and graphical dashboard sounds like the right move, Access Group’s production planning and scheduling solution can keep your planners firmly in the driving seat.

 Find more information on how you can enhance your inventory management with APS read Access Group’s latest free planning and scheduling whitepaper: ‘The blue print for inventory reduction’, or get in touch.

 

 

 

News

  • 27 August 2015

    Access Group is to attend this year's Ecommerce Ex…

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    26 August 2015

    US, California based, La Sierra University has inv…

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  • 25 August 2015

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Is the ability to adapt with sheer speed key to staying ahead in supply chain?

Written by: Daniel Chapman

In this ever increasing digital age organisations are embracing technology to streamline their business growth and objectives. The complexity of challenges faced with supply chain management (SCM) is increasing with speed and it is crucial to remain in complete control of costs and efficiency throughout the supply chain. 

The ability to keep inventory to a minimum and deliver fast, accurate services to keep customer expectations and satisfaction front of mind is a challenge. However more and more businesses are increasing visibility and control of their supply chain and it is becoming expected that each partner, contractor or supplier offers the same level of management insight as businesses choose to invest in their business management to ensure that the entire supply chain is a well-oiled machine.

One thing that these growing businesses have in common is that a lot of them attribute their success to modern supply chain management solutions, whether it is a single all-embracing solution, such as an ERP or a specialist solution for your business focus. These successful businesses have dropped manual processes and spreadsheets in favour of intelligent, intuitive and integrated solutions.

With ever increasing complexity, organisations need to invest in supply chain management and, critically, they should be seeking these six essential keys to unlock the full power of the implementation: configurability, functionality, integration, hardware support, visibility and simulation.

To find out what each one of these six factors means to your operation, download Access Group’s whitepaper 'What does a good SCM look like?

 

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  • 27 August 2015

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    READ MORE

    26 August 2015

    US, California based, La Sierra University has inv…

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  • 25 August 2015

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Could these six keys unlock your supply chain power?

Written by: Daniel Chapman

Supply Chain Management (SCM) has become increasingly sophisticated. At the same time, variables such as globalisation, outsourcing, mobile communications, the internet, the proliferation of channels to market and the sheer speed of change have presented supply chain businesses with ever more complex challenges.

However the goals remain the same – to control costs, to drive efficiency throughout the supply chain, to control and minimise inventory, to deliver a speedy and accurate response to customer requirements and to leverage purchasing power while improving supplier relationships.

Remarkably, according to Access Group research, only a third of companies in manufacturing supply chains use either ERP systems or dedicated SCM solution. 28% use standard accounting software, perhaps with ‘bolt on’ modules and almost half are to some extent reliant on nothing more sophisticated than spreadsheets to control this complex activity.

Many firms should be looking to invest in acquiring, updating or replacing supply chain management solutions. There is no single generic SCM solution that will suit every supply chain – even with bespoke tailoring: nonetheless there are six attributes that should be observable in any effective supply chain solution:

  •          Configurability
  •          Functionality
  •          Integration
  •          Hardware support and future proofing
  •          Visibility and reporting
  •          Simulation

We believe these six attributes are essential for supply chain implementation and unlocking its full power, regardless of whether SCM is to be a single all-embracing solution or the ‘scaffold’ for a range of specialist functional solutions.

To discover what these six keys mean to your organisation download Access Group’s free whitepaper 'What does a good SCM look like?

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  • 27 August 2015

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    READ MORE

    26 August 2015

    US, California based, La Sierra University has inv…

    READ MORE
  • 25 August 2015

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    17 August 2015

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The power of partnerships

Written by: Rob Barr

Having the right partnerships in place should be a number one priority for any organisation. The added value cannot be underestimated and stems not just from the software or services that are provided (although obviously that’s very important) but the way that the parties feel about working with each other. There’s a mutual trust and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint, but somehow, well it just feels right.

We all know instinctively how uncomfortable it feels in a high pressure sales environment, that interaction doesn’t fill one with ease. But when you have someone in front of you that is clearly looking to make sure their product or service is the right fit for you, isn’t that a refreshing change?

Our staff care deeply about helping clients making the right choices. This means leaving no stone unturned when solving inevitable problems. After all, in any project there is usually some hiccup along the way, and it’s about how you respond to that in getting to the bottom of it and fixing it.

As experts in the not-for-profit technology sector we understand the needs of organisations having worked on the intricacies of so many of their processes and developed industry specific systems whether that’s for charities, membership organisations, education, religious organisations, governmental bodies or charitable visitor attractions; we’ve been able to build incredible relationships in each of those areas.

Having developed software for this sector for more than 18 years, we’ve helped many organisations to fulfil their goals and ambitions. With a customer retention rate of 96%, which is significantly higher than the industry average, and tremendous staff loyalty we’re proud to work in partnership with our clients to help them get the most from their solutions, from finance through to our most recent not-for-profit CRM solution. Providing the tools to help our NFP clients manage their organisations better, and in turn create closer relationships with their own stakeholders is something that plays a huge part in what we do. 

'This article is the fourth in a series of seven blogs relating to our 2015 CRM Manifesto. You can read our previous blog, 'The ideal host' here.

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    26 August 2015

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  • 25 August 2015

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Onboarding: one of the greatest errors

Written by: Nick Hogan

One of the greatest errors any recruiter can make in HR is neglecting the needs of today’s information hungry talent and failing to cement a productive relationship between employee and organisation in the run up to joining the company.

In short, it’s essential for any growing organisation to bring the right people on board with maximum impact and minimum risk, then get them up to speed as fast and efficiently as possible. Doing this successfully means that the organisation benefits from their skills and abilities faster – not to mention receives a longer-term return on its investment.

The first months, weeks, days or even hours in a new job can be vital, after all, early attrition is a real and present issue. Put simply, early engagement equals long-term retention. Engage someone’s loyalty, trust, skills and enthusiasm early and you increase the chance that they will commit to a relationship with the organisation.

All of this presents an opportunity for talented professionals to put themselves at the centre of strategic policy-making and its implementation. Fortunately, that opportunity coincides with new technology tools and platforms that enable best practice to be put into action with relative ease.

One of those tool sets focuses on the onboarding process itself, which bridges the gap between the employee accepting a role and becoming a fully integrated member of the team – an employee who understands what the organisation is and what their role in it should be. 

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  • 27 August 2015

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    26 August 2015

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  • 25 August 2015

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Supply chain management - are your systems the full ticket?

Written by: Daniel Chapman

In previous white papers in this series we have looked at the ‘gaps’ that commonly exist in manufacturing and supply chain IT systems. 41% of finance professionals in manufacturing, for example – are wholly or largely reliant on manual systems or at best on spreadsheet-based applications. Some will have ERP systems but they are not designed to give near-real-time support to day-to-day decision making.

Increased complexity in today’s supply chain makes integrated IT solutions a must. Gaps between systems give rise to cost and accuracy issues. With best of breed systems that are integrated, interconnected, work from common datasets and provide reports, managers can keep track of events across their manufacturing and supply chain operations. Furthermore they can readily model the impact of possible future changes.

An organisation can make good use of all the data at its disposal – without the need to make assumptions and they can be transformed by deploying business intelligence (BI). However, our surveys show that there is still considerable misunderstanding among business managers about what BI actually is. Only 16% of financial professionals say they are using BI today while 35% either don’t recognise the term of think it is a piece of technical jargon for the IT people to deal with.

A BI solution should simplify the way people use data by making it a natural part of the decision making process. When ordering extra stock, for example, the ramifications involve warehouse management systems, labour management systems and financials. It is vital that each manager knows that a problem exists and is working from the same data without gaps or silos. Achieving supply chain systems that give you the full ticket takes integration and connectivity.

To continue learning about the benefits and importance of business intelligence in supply chains, read Access Group’s fourth whitepaper in the series, ‘Mind the Gap: are your systems the full ticket?’ here.

News

  • 27 August 2015

    Access Group is to attend this year's Ecommerce Ex…

    READ MORE

    26 August 2015

    US, California based, La Sierra University has inv…

    READ MORE
  • 25 August 2015

    RCM Products, manufacturer of grilles, louvres and…

    READ MORE

    17 August 2015

    Remarkably, according to Access Group research*, o…

    READ MORE
  • 11 August 2015

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Business intelligence for smarter proactive supply chains

Written by: Ian Roper

It is vital that each manager knows whenever a problem exists and is working from the same supply chain data without gaps or silos of information. Achieving supply chain systems that give your organisation the complete picture requires integration and connectivity.

Why should this matter now, when many businesses have operated fairly successfully for decades with little in the way of IT systems? The simple answer is ‘increased complexity’, but that masks a perfect storm of factors that have combined to make integrated IT solutions no longer a luxury but an essential.

This all impacts upon an organisation’s costs and accuracy, and gaps cannot be afforded; it’s all about control, co-ordination and time. So a change in sales orders or forecast obviously affects production planning and scheduling – but there may be implications for purchasing, labour management, warehouse management, transport management, and financials, amongst others. To attempt to model even a simple change by re-running an ERP system would be too slow, too cumbersome, and in any case unlikely to reveal problems and issues at the level of detail required.

Using the approach advocated by Access Group, impacts can be assessed in hours not days, it becomes practical to explore alternative scenarios and strategies, and everyone affected, externally as well as internally, can see reports appropriately structured to reflect their areas of concern or responsibility, all of which derive from the same information and same iteration.

To continue learning about the benefits and importance of business intelligence in supply chains, read Access Group’s fourth whitepaper in the series, ‘Mind the Gap: are your systems the full ticket?’ here.

News

  • 27 August 2015

    Access Group is to attend this year's Ecommerce Ex…

    READ MORE

    26 August 2015

    US, California based, La Sierra University has inv…

    READ MORE
  • 25 August 2015

    RCM Products, manufacturer of grilles, louvres and…

    READ MORE

    17 August 2015

    Remarkably, according to Access Group research*, o…

    READ MORE
  • 11 August 2015

    Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is a proven cons…

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    6 August 2015

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This is the solution to simplify growing complexity in your supply chain

Written by: Ian Roper

As business management in supply chain grows in complexity and with businesses contracting and outsourcing areas of their supply chain to third parties, including the globalisation and amplification created by the internet, it is crucial for supply chain organisations to remain firmly in control with clear visibility over all their moving parts and business objectives.

The key to this is integration of information, being able to share data from systems, inter-company and third parties allows decision makers to strengthen their control and ability to make informed decisions based on real-time information. This is a worrying reality when 35% of finance professionals in supply chain don’t recognise business intelligence as an important asset and dismiss it as jargon.

Business intelligence will grow to become recognised as key to supply chain management. This will be apparent as firms gearing up for growth choose to involve contractors, third parties and adopt increasingly short product lifecycles that add to supply chain complexities. The key is to keep it simple.

Integrating data between systems, creating one centralised hub of information will enable visibility, control and efficiency between entire supply chain operations. This will help soothe complexities experienced in the likes of ecommerce and manufacturing with increasingly short product lifecycles – where being able to deliver exceptional service, based on real-time business updates can keep firms relevant, competitive and front of mind when dealing with globalised competition through the amplification of the internet.

This all impacts an organisation’s costs and accuracy, gaps cannot be ignored. It’s time for supply chain leaders to regain control, co-ordination and make efficient use of time. By using best-of-breed systems that are integrated, interconnected, work from one centralised data hub managers can leverage this information in a format that best suits the business and team through the adoption of dashboards and visualisation. This will enable decision makers to drill down on key, crucial information that allows for informed decisions that will grow business opportunity and success.

For more benefits of an integrated supply chain read Access Group’s fourth whitepaper in the series, ‘Mind the Gap: are your systems the full ticket?’ here.

News

  • 27 August 2015

    Access Group is to attend this year's Ecommerce Ex…

    READ MORE

    26 August 2015

    US, California based, La Sierra University has inv…

    READ MORE
  • 25 August 2015

    RCM Products, manufacturer of grilles, louvres and…

    READ MORE

    17 August 2015

    Remarkably, according to Access Group research*, o…

    READ MORE
  • 11 August 2015

    Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is a proven cons…

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    6 August 2015

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  • 30 July 2015

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