Supply Chain Management has met sizable evolution in recent decades and is now recognized as one of the critical departments in any utility’s operations. Utilities continuously review the effectiveness of their supply chain and are regularly improving its efficiency.
Establishing the most resourceful strategies is an enduring effort but considering the ongoing shifting environment in which utilities operate, it becomes imperative to continue to redefine excellence. Additionally, the field of supply chains for utilities is not standing still as innovative technologies and digitization are intensely impacting supply chain processes.
Recently, Marie Zahrn joined Cohesive Solutions as the Practice Lead for Supply Chain. Marie has been in the Utility industry and working with Maximo for the last eight years with a focus in Supply Chain, procurement and inventory management. She brings to Cohesive her knowledge of Supply Chain across several industries and best practices. In a previous role with Vistra Energy, she was an end user and SME in support of Maximo Supply Chain applications. Later, she led research and development of process improvements, solution enhancements and integrations with external systems such as Ariba and PSAP, as well as support change management.
While some operators are leading the way in managing lean supply chains, others have substantial savings to seize. These organizations often look to upgrade to innovative solutions and technologies as part of their strategy. We asked Marie for her thoughts on the critical areas to consider before investing in a supply chain solution.
What are the questions to ask yourself, team and organization BEFORE a solution is selected?
Supply chains do not operate in a silo. This group impacts the overall company’s success. Therefore, we must consider the complete effect of the newer technology or solution.
- Have you defined what your initial needs/requirements are? I suggest you define these first instead of choosing a system and letting it determine your requirements. Once you select a system, revisit your requirements, evaluate best practices and what processes will improve by leveraging the new tool you have chosen.
- What systems are your internal customers currently using?
- What system is being used for invoicing and financial reporting? This is intricate to your invoicing, PO and receiving transactions. Save yourself a lot of trouble and consider where invoicing will happen and how you ensure AP gets the right information.
- Who needs visibility to Supply Chain and at what point(s) of the process is this visibility needed?
- What visibility does Supply Chain need into work planning, so they can strategically plan services and material deliveries?
- Do you understand the needs of your internal customer? I know a few ideas that work for gathering requirements; an online survey to tally input quickly, or host workshops with an outside consultant and get the leaders together for an open discussion.
“Supply chain leaders must assess their company’s risk culture to determine their readiness to explore and adopt emerging offerings,” advises Christian Titze, research director at Gartner.
It is a unique balancing act to align supply chains with their business units within a centralized supply chain organization. This can be accomplished by developing new roles within the supply chain that work directly with business units, focusing completely on understanding each unit’s plans and strategies. Aligned supply chains enable a consistent focus on driving value, reducing risk, and improving supplier relations.Contact our team today to learn how we can help you align your technology AND your processes to reach greater operational excellence.