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Upland 2023 Predictions: Using enterprise grade solutions to strengthen the connection between manufacturing operations and supply chain execution will be critical in 2023


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

Using enterprise grade solutions to strengthen the connection between manufacturing operations and supply chain execution will be critical in 2023

By Frank Kapper, General Manager, Upland Ultriva

With an impending recession on the horizon, a major trend for business leaders in 2023 will be to strengthen the connection between manufacturing operations and supply chain execution. The first step in that journey is to look at the external factors and internal factors that make supply chains so complex.

Supply chain professionals have heard the acronym PESTED that looks at Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Demographic external factors. On their own and even together they impact supply chains. Supply chain complexity is also a reflection of how a business runs internally, which is also complex. There are lots of departments and people and priorities, all happening at the same time. That's internal pressure.​

These two pressure points - externally and internally - make it difficult for business leaders to decide where to focus, not from just a supply chain perspective, but from a business perspective. ​The most important first step is to look at internal business processes. Savvy business leaders will see there are always improvements that can be made to strengthen the connection between manufacturing operations and supply chain execution that'll make a big difference on business and supply chain performance.

Internally, each of the components in an organization's end-to-end business system must fit together seamlessly for the bridge between supply chain execution (SCE) and manufacturing execution systems (MES) to occur. There are different phases an organization goes through with each business cycle. They include the Planning Phase, the Implementation Phase, the Execution Phase, and the Review Phase.  ​

One of the least understood and most impactful nodes is the feedback loop between the Execution Phase and the Review Phase. The overall success of a manufacturing plan hinges on the availability of near real-time information on "Plan to Actual" performance of each organization's key performance indicators. One such example is the ability of a supply chain organization to ensure the right parts are delivered in the right quantities at the right time and to the right location. If any one of these supply chain deliverables fails, then the overall performance of manufacturing operations suffers. ​

Peeling the onion back a little further, you'll find supply chain and IT systems designed specifically to meet the informational and data management needs of the owning organizations within each node.

Organizations that are considering large supply chain and IT projects in 2023 must first understand how each major node in their primary line-of-business systems are performing before making decisions on new systems or system replacements. But it doesn't stop isolated assessments of each individual node. Strengthening the connection between manufacturing operations and supply chain execution only occurs when the key data hand-offs between each node meet the informational and data management needs of downstream organizations. ​

To that end, applications designed to support business processes are perfectly positioned to play a major role in addressing the twin challenges of increasing supply chain complexity and getting the most out of existing line of business systems.

Specialized solutions accomplish this by quickly relieving pressure at the most constrained part of the supply chain. The need to find efficiencies in the supply chain has made it necessary to look at every detail from the inside out. For example, integrating a supply chain execution solution with an organization's primary line-of-business ERP system will help by providing near real-time information on potential or actual supply chain disruptions, along with the ability for buyers and suppliers to collaborate and execute best-case recovery plans has  become a top priority for manufacturing firms of all types and sizes.​ Key steps to take: ​

  • Start slow to go fast​: Engage the key stakeholders in current state business process and system assessments
  • Examine operational flow: Focus on key hand-off points between business process and systems​
  • Check your technology performance: Multi-vendor ecosystem​s are common, so make sure your systems work for your business so mission-critical data ​is readily available and accurate
  • Build a consensus: Ensure process owners, leaders, and experts agree on process and system improvement opportunities

​In the end, you want to easily do three things: ​

  • Get the right information as fast as possible.​
  • Provide easy access to that information with all internal and external stakeholders.​
  • Work together with your stakeholders to make the best decisions possible.




Frank is General Manager of Upland Ultriva, a cloud-based supply chain management and manufacturing execution solution. Frank leads product strategy and positioning for Ultriva.

Published Wednesday, December 07, 2022 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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