Why Visibility Across Supply Chain Is Critical for Your Business?

Even though the supply chain industry has been around for a long time, the complexity of supply chains has increased many folds since the 2000s. The world is rapidly witnessing a transition in supply chain from the linear nodal systems of interaction among consumers and suppliers towards a diverse and autonomous model.

The primary sources of increased complexity are the ever-increasing customer expectation, globalization of operations and expanding supplier network. Customer demands more choices, shorter lead times and tailored delivery. Along with that organization needs to meet their growth aspirations. Moreover, growing product lines, numerous shipping options, and wider geographic distribution have called for integrations of new technologies. All these have opened new avenues of opportunities and collaboration between the various stratum of the supply chain, adding new layers of complexity.

Let’s discuss the challenges posed on managing the supply chain due to increasing complexity.

Supply Chain

Increased Number of Milestones to Meet Customer Expectations

As organizations aspire to grow, its customer base and product portfolio also grow. To manage this increasing number of suppliers, other technology partners get added in the chain. This subsequently adds more steps needed to complete orders and provide a tailored delivery.  Here achieving milestone depends on the kind of order placed. An order might be contingent on order manufacturing, order splitting and multi-leg international shipments. All these factors make the supply chain even more complex.

Ever-Increasing Operational Cost

Today logistics and supply chain operations contribute around 5% to 50% of the total product cost. Customers demand more focused, unique and differentiated products which in turn create need to manage a large product portfolio. Due to the business going global, increased product line, expanded geographic distribution, and shift from decentralized to specialized procurement, it has become very difficult to maintain optimum operational cost. All of these also adds to warehouse storage, administrative and operational cost.

Tracking Communication for Making Quick Informed Decision

Today, about 80% of the supplier network activities happen outside an organisation involving various stakeholders to serve customers across the globe. This often leads to miscommunication and disinformation among the supply chain processes due to factors like geographical obstacles and foreign language barriers.  As a result, communication and the ability to make quick informed decisions in the supply chain based on multidisciplinary information can be extremely challenging.

Also, the dawn of advanced communication technologies (internet, social networks) has provided businesses access to a huge volume of information. But out of all these humongous amounts of data having the right data at the right time is a challenge. Also, the validity of information thus collected may last only for a limited time due to fluctuating market conditions. All these may cause deficient or false data to be captured which in-turn prompts a Bullwhip Effect.

Heterogeneous Applications Makes the System Fragile

As supply chain complexity increased, business imbibed heterogeneous technology to facilitate seamless execution of supply chain processes.  Since there are multiple vendors and stakeholders involved the overall system becomes fragile. The data accumulated using sophisticated technologies must pass through each interconnected department precisely as it is. Any kind of loss or alteration in the information passing process can result in huge damages for the business. Just imagine the scale of damage, if decisions were taken based on erroneous data. Sounds scary, isn’t it?

Need for Precise Demand Forecasting and Business Planning

Demand forecasting in the supply chain is easier said than done. Even the big players fail to reach 100% precise results. Walgreens faced a huge loss of $1 Billion in 2014 due to incorrect forecasting. This depicts the criticality of the precise demand forecasting system.

With demand volatility increasing at an unprecedented rate and higher service expectations, it becomes difficult to reliably forecast an increasing number of SKU combinations. This impacts inventory to accommodate long-tail, erratic demand. What happens in-turn is extra freight costs, excess and obsolete inventory.

With products proliferation and ever-increasing demand volatility, channels become more specialized and the ability to forecast accurately is getting more difficult. Also, demand data is becoming more complex, and the usual responses are less effective. And as business goes global demand planning gets more terraces to cover.

CONCLUSION

For supply chain professionals, managing a supply chain that handles thousands of products and involves numerous stakeholders requires tackling a lot of complexities. And believe me, these complexities are here to stay and grow. You need to excel in tackling complexity and convert it into your competitive advantage. While we analyse these impacts, we can clearly see that gaining visibility into each component of your supply chain helps to manage expectations real-time and allows you to set the right expectation to your customer. There are several visibility solutions that help you manage complexity. Pick the ones that help you create wow experience for your customer.

Reference: https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2014/08/25/two-key-executives-leave-walgreen-due-to-a-1-billion-forecasting-error/#6271326d484e

Order Management System: Taking E-Commerce efficiency to greater heights

Order Management System: Taking E-Commerce efficiency to greater heights

Order Management System (OMS), as indicated by the name, is critical to a company’s performance and its customer experience cycle (CX). E-Commerce is rapidly taking over the retail domain and despite being a late starter, India has emerged as the fastest growing market in the world with a project CAGR of 51% year-on-year.[1] The Indian online retail market was pegged at $39 billion in 2017, and is all set to touch $120 billion in 2020.[2]

With such incredible pace of growth of the online retail, it becomes absolutely critical to have a robust, Omni-channel Order Management System in place. With an average of tens of thousands of daily shipments (a number that could rise tenfold during major festivals and sales), it would be overwhelming to manually handle the volumes.

To cater to the festive season rush, a rapidly growing E-Commerce platform put in place an OMS, but, within hours of activation, various glitches started coming to notice. Many orders were booked for products that were not in stock. Some of the customers complained about not getting the order confirmation emails despite having made the payment. The spurt in order booking only resulted in the error percentage rising sharply. Eventually, the portal received widespread criticism on social media about failing to deliver products, delivering wrong products etc.

Elements like the integration of inventory management, payment processing, and shipping, etc. are factors that critically impact the entire order cycle. Glitches related to any of these areas can effectively ruin the customer experience or his/her purpose of buying a product.

However, putting in place an efficient OMS that seamlessly integrates the following can change the entire scenario.

  • E-Commerce Application – OMS receives orders from customers, and can display stock availability and shipment status
  • ERP/Financial Master – Handles inventory and sales updates
  • Payment Gateway – Integrates the various online payment processes through cards, Net banking or e-wallets.
  • Warehouse Management – Takes care of inventory and warehouse management
  • Taxation – Automates the calculation of applicable taxes on the billed value of the product and delivery location etc.
  • PoS integration – Integrates the inventory and payment changes for cash purchases made at a retail store and allows the online customers to see the in-store inventory availability.
  • Product Information Management (PIM) – Despite the option of catalogue in standard OMS, the PIM feature can include more images, video, and other forms of digital content that can positively impact sales conversions.
  • Email Management – The OMS integrates the existing client email tool to ensure a seamless branded email order creation and shipment status information that is shared with the customers.
  • Shipping Management – The OMS calculates estimated shipping costs for an order and assigns it to the right vendor enabling the business to provide accurate shipping charges and fulfilment to the customers.

Businesses are individual entities and each company has its unique challenges as well as requirements. Acuver’s vast experience with OMS integrations has led to the insight that an inefficiently or incorrectly integrated OMS can create hurdles to smooth conduct of business operations. Each of the application comes with its own guidelines, best practices and suggestions, but, Acuver goes beyond them to resolve seven critical concerns and extract optimal benefits from an advanced OMS. Those are as follows:

Lack of emphasis on business cases

Quite often, businesses take initiatives based on what their competitors do. They might be prone to measure success on the basis of project completion rather than achieving the business goals. Defining and adhering to business cases for the implementation results in faster impact, better team capabilities and enhanced user experience.

Scalability

Implemented correctly, the modern OMS can handle scenarios like growth, merger and acquisition strategies, etc. Therefore, it is imperative that future ‘brand acquisition’ and business expansion plans are taken into consideration at the early stages of the project. Taking into account the ‘future’ enables you to create a system that offers scalability and flexibility in the years ahead.

Overwhelming the system

A good OMS caters to almost every element of the fulfilment cycle. However, it doesn’t mean that you should roll out everything at one go, because that will lead to a much longer time required to implement the system and make it more risk prone. The rapid pace of market evolution might result in your business strategies changing even before the system is live. Therefore, Acuver’s expertise enables you to take well-informed and step-by-step route towards OMS integration.

 Lack of attention on capabilities

By analysing the ‘capability’ factor, it is possible to determine what is required to integrate a specific vendor, channel or product range. You might have multiple brands, one of which requires a simple integration of limited product lines whereas the other requires a highly complex delivery planning and scheduling infrastructure, so it is imperative to integrating the simpler brand first while working on capability building to integrate the other later.

Lack of timely training to technical team

Barring the scenario where you are outsourcing the whole IT initiative to a provider like Acuver, you need to train your team to independently handle the OMS. As per Acuver’s experience, it can cause major disruptions to wait for the new system to go-live before training the in-house teams on it.

Partnering with the wrong OMS provider

It is of utmost importance that your OMS integration partner is a subject matter expert. While there is no lack of talented IT people who offer OMS services, they might just focus on making live a packaged solution instead of exploring the application to ensure maximum value yield for your business.

Inadequate testing and performance evaluation

While a good OMS is likely to function well most of the time, lack of adequate testing will always be a concern. Imagine how chaotic it would be if your OMS develops snags right in the middle of holiday season when it is pushed to operate at its maximum level. We have witnessed instances where e-commerce sites suffered from a downtime of over a week due to lack of adequate testing. So unless you are not concerned about such potentially catastrophic risks, make sure to align with an expert partner who has testing as a crucial part of the plans, right from the early stages.

Key takeaway

Acuver’s client-oriented OMS implementations help cultivate an enduring client relationship based on trust and our ability to ensure that the overall project expenditures remain lower for our clients. Partner with Acuver to get the best out of your OMS keeps you one step ahead of the game, always!

[1] https://www.ibef.org/industry/ecommerce.aspx

[2] https://www.ibef.org/industry/ecommerce.aspx

On Autonomy, Codfishes & Functional Monoliths

P G Wodehouse is my favourite humorist. There has never been a better wordsmith of the English language. One of the characters that P G Wodehouse writes about is an aging wooly minded peer – the Nineth Earl of Ermswoth – who spends his life pottering around his garden and his pig’s sty much to the vexation of his sisters. One constant source of frustration for Lord Ermsworth is his second son – Freddie Threepwood. Continue reading

Beginning from within: Empowering women and leading the change

Empowering women isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do – Barack Obama

Gender diversity and equality are increasingly being prioritized and appreciated in the professional world today. Many organizations are adopting proactive approaches to solve some major challenges that have plagued women professionals since ages: including pay disparity, sexual harassment, and other discrimination in terms of opportunity, promotion, and leave. It is these liberal organizations who are leading the way in translating empowering and diverse work cultures into the bigger picture – the Indian society.

Acuver Consulting is exemplifying such a change as they critically consider the rights, welfare, and wellbeing of their female employees. They are establishing sensitivity, protection, and conducive growth as the pillars of a liberal and empowering work culture.

With gender diversity and equality as part of the work culture through conducive growth opportunities for its women employees, Acuver is certainly leading the change. The consultancy company has garnered considerable women representation across all divisions and ensures that the numbers only rise by nurturing inclusivity and diversity.

No-questions-asked regarding postpartum remote working  

At the outset, Acuver tackles the challenge of post-partum leave with a culture where no questions are asked regarding location of working and there is no room for a doubt. The company provides its women employees with the unarguable liberty of flexibility, regarded that targets and deadlines are met. The same flexibility applies across the organization. This gender equality and diversity enables everyone to give their best while maintaining organizational productivity as well.

Divya Ravi, Managing Consultant at Acuver, shares an intimate connection with Acuver in comparison to the other companies she has worked in. The working mother who has been in the organization for over 5 years, adds, “The best part about Acuver is that it helped me do justice to my role as a mother and a professional. Acuver ensured a balance between my assignments and personal life when I gave birth to my second child. They helped me attain this balance without creating a dip in my learning curve. Clients have in fact reverted in appreciation of the quality of work and experience that I bring to the table”.

Accommodative approach to training

Apart from harnessing a sensitive and friendly workplace environment for women, Acuver goes a step further in nurturing their growth. For instance, if a woman is trained in a certain technology and wants to upgrade her skills, Acuver takes a responsible and proactive approach to enable growth through training programmes. As a result, women feel secure within the organization, even while remote working, because they have no qualms about their growth being hampered by this arrangement.

Sahana Rao, Associate Manager in the Human Resource Department, says “Acuver has become my family, in the true sense of the word. Their accommodative nature and flexibility make me strive to give my best each day as I feel elated to see so many women working in demanding positions with equal opportunities.”

Each organization naturally mirrors the values, perspectives, and opinions of its leaders and founder. Acuver’s Founder Sunny Nandwani is known for his efforts to develop a gender diverse and equal work culture at the organization. He says, “When an individual establishes a venture, it is termed as his/her ‘brainchild’. I take the connotation seriously and continue to strengthen the deep connection I have formed with all members of Acuver. In order to build any successful organization, there must be mutual respect and compassion among each member with no barriers whatsoever. This is why I accommodate and prioritize effective recruitment and retention strategies to enhance women representation. In this era of liberty, justice, and feminism, organizations that adapt to the change without being immune to the needs of every person in the larger context, are the ones who will truly reach newer heights.”

In conclusion

The work culture at Acuver has been rightfully summarized as a ‘family’ by several women employees. Families not only encourage during the highs of life, but also support each other in times of need. Acuver does just that by forging strong familial bonds while creating an environment that is conducive to the development of an individual and thus the organization as well.

Acuver Family Outing: Chikmagalur

Holidays are all about being together with family and friends. With year-end approaching and holidays round-the-corner we planned to conclude our year-long hard work with a team outing.  While we work, we have a family that works and stand by us. Nothing can be better than being with your team with family by your side. So, the event was designed as “Team outing with family”. Nothing more we could ask for!!!

It was a 2-day trip to Chikmagalur with family. Our trip manager asked us to be at pick-up-point at 7 A.M considering the obvious delays that will be there.  Most of us made it along with few delays. All were in by 8 A.M, boarded the bus and we were on the way. The excitement resonated the feeling of school picnic with energetic kids and fun-filled Acuverites. We engaged in Antrakshari, Dumb charades, solved puzzles etc. We reached resort by 2:00 P.M.

Chikmagalur, a hill station, was a bliss in the nature with soothing effect on mind and body. We were given a warm welcome and sumptuous food was appetizing. Have a guess, which activity did we start with. Well no awards for that guess. For sure it’s cricket. Our players made it professional, teams were named ‘Bahubali’ & ‘Shimba’. They put up a thrilling match coupled with audience cheers and claps.

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A bouquet of activity waited, and we headed for rain-dance. Though it was 05:00 P.M. and a bit cold we couldn’t stop kids from participating. They danced their best and elders followed in. Hold on we also had swimmers who headed for swimming and played pool volleyball.  Its was already 07:00 P.M. We were provided pool-side snacks and warm filter coffee.

Hold your breath, time to relax, we already have done so much since morning. People just sat down and were wondering what next. Then the bon-fire started with latest party song and all known steps were put to action.

To the north of Chikmagalur is Baba Budangiri, a mountain range in the Western Ghats, with 3 large caves said to be holy. Trails through forests and grasslands lead up to Mullayanagiri Peak. This definition describes trekking inevitable and we cannot contain ourselves, though the trails were scary, trekkers paved their way. Wallpaper of our laptops describing nature turned into reality. We could see the part of nature we miss while juggling between tabs of our screen.

While at work we often miss out time with kids.  Its was blessing to see them enjoying amidst nature, something that rarely happens in cities. With designated play area for kids, parents were least worried about them getting hurt. Nature is a good teacher for both children and adults. Went into nature while cycling with our kids.

Chirping birds served as alarm for next day morning. Opening eyes in the nature’s lap breathing fresh “oxygenated” air gave a feeling to be there forever. But it’s time to pack-up. We got ready and had luscious and delectable breakfast. On way back, we stopped by Hebbe Falls lie in an area of coffee plantations. We wanted to enjoy a little more, got an opportunity in form of boating and having luscious ice cream. All done we headed back home, a fun-filled memorable trip enjoyed to the fullest.

Please click on the link below to view the complete album

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2296647310375128&id=1147443558628848&__tn__=K-R

While the enthusiasm and freshness in mind prepares us for the coming year. We wish everyone a fun-filled, successful 2019. Happy New year!

Improving the Warehouse Efficiency – Key Results to achieve from WMS

 

25-40% efficiency. This is the simple answer to the complex question about the value of a WMS. It is the efficiency that you can expect from optimizing your warehouse with a WMS. We often say that the actual streamlining should be able to justify the investment in itself when assessing whether it is a good idea to introduce WMS in the warehouse.

Often it is the efficiency itself that is the starting point for the companies considering a WMS, Continue reading

Are you ready for Next-Gen Warehouse Management?

Traditionally, warehouse management systems (WMS) were complex, expensive and tedious to implement. That meant only big companies have the big shadow over the entire process or can say were the primary users. However, new digitized platforms, technologies, integration capabilities and applications are making WMS accessible – budget friendly – to the rest of the business world.

So, if you haven’t looked at WMS solutions in a while, Continue reading