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How SaaS Is Easing Supply Chain Pains

After decades of running their supply chains with internal enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, enterprises have seen the shift to a global economy and supply chain — requiring a myriad of external business processes that their internal systems were never designed to handle.

Historically, ERP systems served as internal “drive chains,” linking together diverse enterprise functions such as finance, manufacturing, purchasing, customer service, marketing/sales, and engineering. These systems established their value because they could be closely tailored to the internal workflows of companies. Unfortunately, ERP systems were never intended for handling business processes that occurred outside of company walls.

SaaS - A Smarter Way for Companies to Manage Their Supply Chain

This poses a dilemma for companies with global supply chains, since most companies employ suppliers and contractors around the world — and sell their goods in many countries. The need to track the sourcing of components, the builds of products, and the delivery of finished goods remains unchanged — only now these processes must occur outside of the company and in a global supply chain that ERP can’t address. Unsurprisingly, solving the need for these new supply chains that reach into every corner of the world has become a fertile area for Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.

Key pain points of global supply chain management that the SaaS service is solving include:

Risk Assessment

Cloud-based analytics services can now predict which areas of the world are most likely to experience a natural disaster. They do this by analyzing weather patterns and other factors. There are also cloud-based services that are able to risk-assess not only a company’s top-tier suppliers, but the suppliers of those suppliers. When these supplier-oriented analytics are run, suppliers can also be run against the product structures of the items a company sells to determine which components are most critical to the production of a given item, and whether there is an inherent danger that exists because an essential component in product manufacture is only provided by a single vendor.

Uninterrupted Visibility

In one case, a Hong Kong-based company undertaking a major project in a remote region with limited infrastructure was experiencing losses on shipments in-country, after the goods reached port. Thefts were occurring somewhere between the entry port facility and the company’s final destination factory in the country’s interior, and the parts were being sold on the black market. If the parts had been coded, sensor enabled, and tracked in real- time in the supply chain with a SaaS solution the thefts would have been detected much earlier — and stopped. Saas helps give visibility into supply chain goods flows.

Guarantees on Quality

Food and medicine that must be maintained at steady temperatures and humidity during transit are now packed in containers equipped with remote sensors that automatically trigger alarms over cloud-based networks whenever these networks fail, or a broken seal on a container is detected. The methodology ensures quality of goods, and can detect and prevent tampering with goods or the occurrence of a potential act of terrorism.

If you’re interested in understanding how the SaaS service can help support your supply chain in Hong Kong or globally, speak to one of our team members for a personalized demo.

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