How to perfect your manufacturing supply chain workflow

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Manufacturers are up against a lot. The price of raw materials is up, production windows are slimmer, and it’s harder than ever to find employees who can get the job done. 

There is, however, one silver bullet for these problems — automating your manufacturing supply chain workflow.

Keep reading to learn how you can implement a manufacturing supply chain workflow that streamlines every manufacturing process from logistics management to production planning. 

5 ways to improve your manufacturing supply chain workflow

1. Diversify your supply chain process 

Our first manufacturing workflow tip is on how to manage your supply chain. 

When you look at the material shortages of 2020, it’s clear that having multiple vendors is a smart approach to supply chain management. 

From nurturing business relationships with multiple suppliers to planning alternative materials to use during shortages, a diverse supply chain ensures that you:

  • Have the best chance of getting the materials you need
  • Aren’t stuck when your top supplier is backlogged 
  • Keep revenue coming in and maintain positive cash flow
  • Get the most competitive prices from vendors 

All of this allows you to get high-quality products out the door and into the hands of your customers faster. 

2. Manage your inventory remotely 

In the wake of COVID-19, it’s clear that manufacturers need to be able to pivot to remote work quickly. 

The trouble is, much of your work takes place on the factory floor producing goods or in the distribution center organizing and shipping products. 

With smart manufacturing, however, this is changing as many manufacturing supply chain workflows become digital — including inventory management. 

Cloud solutions like SOS Inventory are a great way to remotely: 

  • Access inventory quantities 
  • Review an item’s cost history 
  • Track specific products and serial numbers

All of which allows you to have an accurate understanding of your stock, even when you’re not on-site. 

3. Automate your order processing 

An early but critical stage of your manufacturing supply chain workflow is how you receive and fulfill orders. The approach most manufacturers take is:

  • Manual
  • Time-consuming
  • Confined to isolated spreadsheets

The challenges with this are two-fold, as this process:

  • Wastes time on tasks that can be easily automated. 
  • Makes order information hard to keep up-to-date and find. 

Automated order fulfillment, on the other hand, helps you drive a better bottom line by cutting down on labor hours and costs. Here are a few examples of manufacturing supply chain workflows you can easily automate within your order process: 

  • Sales order creation
  • Shipping cost calculation
  • Packing slip printing
  • Invoice generation 

By automating these manufacturing supply chain workflows, your order processing time goes from hours to minutes like it did for Khalid Shehady. 

“What previously took hours now takes mere minutes — with hundreds of orders being processed near-instantaneously. This new process saves time and increases efficiency for the warehouse floor staff, who now dedicate their time to getting products into customers’ hands.” 

– Khalid Shehady, CEO of Erazor Bits 

How to automate order management

The first step in automating your order management process is to select the right technology. 

To start, you want to look for solutions that are cloud based. This is your best bet as cloud software ensures your order information instantly updates and can be accessed by everyone who needs it. 

If your order management process is particularly unique to your business, it’s also smart to look for software that you can easily customize.

4. Empower your team to create estimates on-the-go

Without a purchase order in hand, it’s hard to know:

  • What products to manufacture 
  • How much to produce
  • What raw materials to order

A solution to this common manufacturing supply chain workflow challenge is to shorten your sales process by enabling your sales reps to create estimates on-the-go.

And thankfully, it’s easy to make this happen with Method:CRM

With Method:CRM, your sales reps can capitalize on customer interest by getting an estimate to them instantly. Not only does this take pressure off your finance team but it also:

  • Allows you to provide better customer service 
  • Enables your customer to immediately act on their decision to buy
  • Speeds up your sales cycle

5. Connect your sales and accounting data 

One aspect of the manufacturing supply chain workflow that’s often overlooked is transactions. 

Traditionally, the sales and accounting teams who deal with these transactions live in distinct silos and don’t work together frequently. 

Because of this, key transaction data often goes awry. 

You can overcome this challenge, however, by connecting your sales and accounting data with a QuickBooks CRM

With a QuickBooks CRM, these departments don’t need to pass paperwork back and forth but instead, have instant access to transactional data that updates bidirectionally. This means:

  • No one is stuck entering data twice or chasing down information
  • Productivity increases for both sales and accounting teams 
  • Your financial data is more accurate 

Recap: How to perfect your manufacturing supply chain workflow

Here’s a rapid-fire summary of manufacturing supply chain workflow tips that will help you produce the highest quantity and quality of finished products at the lowest price.

  1. Future-proof your manufacturing supply chain workflow with multiple suppliers and alternatives for raw materials. 
  2. Gain remote control of inventory with SOS Inventory. 
  3. Automate your order processing system with cloud solutions.
  4. Accelerate your sales process by empowering your sales reps to create estimates on-the-go with Method:CRM
  5. Eliminate double data entry by connecting your sales and accounting data with a QuickBooks CRM like Method:CRM. 

See how you can streamline your manufacturing supply chain workflow with Method:CRM.

Image credit: Tiger Lily via Pexels

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