Right Place, Right Time: The Importance of Order-Slotting Solutions
Nick Ostdick - April 28, 2016
A place for everything and everything in its place. It’s an old proverb commonly thought to be coined by Benjamin Franklin in the mid 1700’s, and while it’s relegated to something of a cliche in today’s world, it’s just as pertinent as ever for those in the manufacturing and supply industry. As the supply chain continues to globalize and expand into new and emerging markets, a company’s ability to manage, locate, and deliver products is vital to maintaining end-to-end supply visibility and agility.
Order-slotting software, part and parcel of a more comprehensive integrated supply chain solution, provides companies with real-time capabilities to mediate manufacturing, sales, and customer service concerns in order to ensure on-time, reliable order fulfillment and delivery. In addition, order-slotting solutions provide companies with enhanced visibility across all points of the supply stream through advanced alerts of order changes, potential material shortages or equipment breakdowns, and parts supply status levels to promote adherence to delivery dates and schedules.
As we delve further into the definition, function, and value-added propositions of order-slotting solutions, you’ll see how Ben Franklin’s age-old adage is perhaps one of the more apropos ways of discussing today’s varied and complex manufacturing and supply network.
Order-Slotting: A Definition
Imagine Company A, an automotive parts supplier, receives an order from a customer in Canada for parts used in the assembly of windshield wipers. It’s a large order that requires quick, accurate delivery. Company A now has to weigh several factors in creating a strategy to manufacture and ship the order, taking into account a number of elements including, where to best source materials, determining the most cost-effective assembly site, and leveraging best freight options.
Enter order-slotting software solutions, which allow Company A to competitively complete each of these tasks. Through detailed analytics and real-time reporting capabilities, order-slotting allows Company A to identify the most efficient and cost-effective assembly site to fulfill the customer’s order; assign, manage, modify, and share information about the order to help establish and maintain a promised delivery date; and monitor and safeguard material supply and optimization of the production process.
Not only do order-slotting solutions allow Company A the agility and maneuverability to most cost-effectively fulfill this current order, it also allows for maximum flexibility in the production and fulfillment of additional concurrent orders by offering 360 degree views of facility and planning capacity, resource availability and allocation, supply, and demand. Insights into these factors increase Company A’s capability to promise and are key drivers in creating and sustaining high levels or ROI and customer satisfaction.
Applying Order-Slotting Solutions
Now that we understand how to best characterize order-slotting solutions, the next logical step is to look at how Company A can apply order-slotting software to increase the efficiency and functionality of its supply logistics. Like many of today’s integrated manufacturing, planning, and supply systems, order-slotting extends beyond the traditional bounds of the supply stream and can create value-added propositions across Company A’s entire departmental and personnel chain. The ripple effect in today’s digitized and interconnected manufacturing and supply industry is increasingly prevalent, and supply managers and planners must take notice of the cross-functional opportunities solutions like order-slotting can present.
After implementing an order-slotting solution, Company A will have the capacity for:
- Enhanced view of product lifecycles and overall production capabilities via real-time reporting and analytics.
- Increased transparency and visibility into each assembly site and its ordering capacity.
- Better understanding and increased shareability of information about sales potential efficiency.
While it may be obvious to see how these functions provide for a more streamlined manufacturing and supply network, the potential for more efficient, cost-effective management across a number of Company A’s departments should also be evident. From supply, distribution, freight, sales, and even human resources - estimating the number of personnel needed to effectively staff an assembly site to meet demand - implementing order-slotting solutions can foster key communication between department and increase collaboration to achieve planning, operations, and sales goals.
Benefits of Order-Slotting Solutions
Why should Company A undertake the application of order-slotting solutions? What are the core benefits in leveraging this technology? How does this kind of software and overall strategy result in overall best practices and increased ROI? Below are four key benefits order-slotting solutions can provide Company A in optimizing its manufacturing and supply cycles.
- Faster and more reliable delivery of customer orders via insights into the capacity of assembly sites, distribution and freight options, and overall sales potential. Order-slotting solutions also provide key information about alternative or more realistic delivery dates by alerting managers to potential production or supply hurdles.
- Increased reporting, analytics, and data sharing in real-time across all divisions of the supply chain, but also at points outside the traditional supply model, including sales, human resources, and others. This method of reporting facilitates better decision coordination and combats the potential for disruptions across the supply stream.
- Protection of mid to long-term delivery schedules by accounting for current production conditions and variables, as well as any restrictions or potential disruptions when assigning delivery dates and schedules.
- Reduction and cost containment in labor or other operational costs. Order-slotting eliminates the need for manual delivery verifications and validations, instead relying on an automated system of notifications. This element reduces waste in personnel and resource management and increases Company A’s visibility into delivery processes.
Order-Slotting as a Holistic Solution
All too often supply managers and planners tend to address complications or hurdles in the supply pipeline as one-and-done propositions. But in today’s global supply network, a more holistic approach is required in order to maximize efficiency and promote long-term, sustainable growth. Order-slotting is perhaps the most prime example of this brand of holistic thinking as it has the potential to impact aspects outside the traditional supply model and influence Company A’s strategy from production to sales and beyond.