Managing Supply Chain in Manufacturing

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With the new age of online shopping, COVID, labor strikes, war, and more factors contributing to a delay in supply chain distribution, it is important now more than ever that you adjust business processes to meet these new challenges.

More than ever, materials are being shipped on an unpredictable timeline forcing manufacturers to prioritize aspects that are more within their control, like production efficiency. According to a survey released by the American Chemistry Council, 97% of companies have reported changing their business processes to combat supply chain disruptions. Keeping tabs on production, employment, productivity, and inventory can be overwhelming, especially when one person holds crucial business information in overflowing filing cabinets, a situation many businesses are in.

Knowing the status of incoming goods is imperative, not only for production purposes but for customer satisfaction as well. Our industry experts identified the most common factors preventing manufacturers from rising above supply chain disruptions.

Challenge: Disparate Systems

Oftentimes, we see manufacturers using one software system for planning, another for production, a separate one for warehousing and inventory management, and the list goes on. In fact, we have seen some situations where companies were once juggling critical business information between 15+ independent systems.

When systems are unable to link with one another, important information is not easily accessible, and its accuracy comes into question. In volatile times when raw materials are hard to come by, it is imperative to keep employees up to date on supplier and demand/production scheduling information to make strategic decisions on purchasing. Data can be miscommunicated when passing from one location to another, causing inefficiencies or worse. These errors can become costly for your business if they are not caught quickly. Not only will having a compatible system reduce errors but having a single source of truth helps you make future business decisions based on real-time facts rather than instinct. Today’s dynamic market makes it imperative for companies to be agile and adjust quickly to changing demands. Keeping everything in one place creates a technical environment to achieve this with minimal disruption to the business.


Finding a solution that can link your information is key to running business processes efficiently. Since there are many software options for job shops, as well as discrete, and batch and process manufacturers, it is essential that you and your team look for a solution that brings all your critical business processes together–from sales and purchasing through inventory management and shipping. Finding a business management solution that tracks and automatically orders resources and materials can be a lifesaver in times of inconsistency.

Challenge: Manual Processes

Automation has become necessary for modern businesses to maintain efficiency, and the current supply chain challenges have magnified this need. Repetitive, monotonous tasks are not only boring for employees and risk costly errors but can cause the business to lag in visibility leading to reactive, and often too late, decision making. Technology can replace manual processes, freeing up resources for high-value work. While you may be used to “the way things have always been done,” manual processes leave too much in the hands of human error. Incorporating technology that enables automation throughout the business creates more reliable data. This level of automation speeds up the time to react to changing demands so businesses can stay on top of evolving supply chain challenges. Faster response time and a more accurate view of product delivery can be significant differentiators in this market.


Turn papers and whiteboards into a single-source solution. Today, many jobs you and your team perform manually can be accomplished electronically. Business activity monitoring is a great solution for many companies to gain added visibility into their overall operational performance and costs. With cross-application analysis and intelligent alerts, employees and management can quickly get the critical information they need to react to changing demands. Whether looking for a safe space for important documents or learning which machines are not performing at capacity, modern technology helps business owners to stay organized and on top of company priorities.

Challenge: Inability to Track Goods Throughout the Supply Chain

With the current supply chain disruptions comes an unpredictability that makes it imperative to have complete visibility of your goods throughout their journey. Not only could these materials arrive at your facility late, but these factors could damage your ability to fulfill orders, ultimately impacting your reputation. It is important to keep customers updated on any shipping changes as soon as you know. Not knowing when a product will be received leaves room for inventory back-ups that could end up stalling all future productions.


Manual tracking is simply not fit for today’s supply chain. Being able to track multiple shipments quickly may save your team from starting a project only to find major roadblocks in material planning and inventory management. Look for a software solution that provides Material Requirements Planning (MRP) functionality to ensure that you always have the right materials available for production at the right time. Ordering and maintaining inventory transparency with your team should be easily communicated with an end-to-end business management solution.

Regardless of supply chain status, your business should always be prepared. Start upgrading processes now to avoid hassles in the future.

Anna Perez

About the Author

Anna Perez is a member of our content crew and works to create informational pieces that detail ECI's role in your industry. Graduating from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor of science in Strategic Communications and a minor in Psychology, Anna has learned the ins-and-outs of writing and hopes to spread brand awareness during her time with ECI.