Using software tools to work with suppliers

Manufacturers need production materials to keep distribution on schedule. Partnering with a proper supplier is a necessity for a business of any size. When it comes to maintaining that business relationship, ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics NAV can aid in supply planning performance.

Define terms
Companies should research prospective suppliers and meet with them in person before doing business. Info Entrepreneurs suggested schedules, shipment sizes, delivery procedures, sale forecasts, service standards and dispute resolution strategies should all be discussed when agreeing upon a service contract with a vendor.

Manufacturers that audit their own operations before approaching suppliers know exactly what timeframes, demands and finances are available. Microsoft Dynamics NAV utilizes data from sales, production, inventory and management to create a complete history of company procedures. An accurate picture of operations indicates where supplier services are needed and how the entire company can best work with partners.

Every time there is a major change in agreed upon terms, a meeting has to take place. If a manufacturer sees an uptick in consumer demand and wants to change order procedures or schedules, the entire contract is in need of reexamination.

Keep communication open
Minor changes are communicated by a consistent flow of information between two companies. The supplier and the manufacturer have to work off the same sets of data.

Demand Media advised companies to use supplier assistance for inventory management. Vendors granted visibility of warehouse operations can provide valuable input on supply chain performance. Utilizing a software system that accommodates multiple users creates a centralized platform for distribution performance. Change or work disruption is visible to all parties and solutions are determined together.

Manufacturers can dictate a supplier’s access to Microsoft Dynamic NAV materials based on needs and trust. Partners can view data from the system as an information supply or they can be given user access.

Automate tasks
By working with a centralized database platform, a manufacturer can eliminate redundant steps in operations. Streamlined communications between a company and its partners speeds up response time and encourages the use of automated tasks.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides warnings for users when reported inventory is too low. Invoice orders for new materials are automatically created based on criteria dictated by the manufacturer. It is important automated tasks are designed based on the needs of all participants in the supply chain.

Some companies may fear giving too much power to automated tasks. Automating one particular function at a time and measuring performance on the system allows manufacturers to slowly implement solutions without taking too many risks.

Check supplies instantly
No matter how good the working relationship between two companies is, mistakes are going to happen. It is important supply delivery problems are detected instantly so as not to create manufacturing issues in the future.

Modern Material Handling advised receivables to check orders for quality, quantity and timing as soon as they arrive on the dock. All the information must be reported instantly and collected to the central information source. Microsoft Dynamics NAV add-ons like barcoding or mobile inventory improve the speed and accuracy of shipping and receiving operations.

If there is a consistent problem, hard data allows manufacturers to approach suppliers with facts rather than unfounded accusations. Real-time reporting and a complete shipment history facilitate honest communication between business partners.

Manufactures should check out the white paper “Microsoft Dynamics NAV Supply Planning” for more information on software solutions to supplier interactions. 

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