Transparency Is the New Black

Wouldn't it be insightful if you could scan your gallon of milk with your smart phone at the grocery store BEFORE you buySupply chain transparency it to find out what farm it came from? Well, folks, it’s a reality. We have customers that are doing exactly that today.

Every day, we see consumers and government agencies demanding supply chain transparency—oftentimes focused on origination of ingredients in the food products on the shelves or where and how consumer products are being manufactured, like athletic shoes for example. Fundamentally, consumers want assurances that the products they buy for themselves and their families are produced ethically, safely, with high quality and minimal environmental impact.

Manufacturers understand that transparency also impacts overall business performance and success. In KPMG’s annual Global Manufacturing Outlook survey of leading global manufacturing executives, one of the key findings that resonated included the fact that “supply chain transparency and visibility remain a key challenge for manufacturers.” In their findings, almost half of their respondents mentioned that they lacked visibility through their extended supply chain and a third of those said that it was due to inadequate IT systems or a lack of skills.

Often times, we think about leveraging technology in the manufacturing space to be a risk-avoidance measure. But, technology can prove you are doing the RIGHT thing and also have a positive financial impact at the same time.

I recently visited a large national food company in the UK. Our friends in the UK have extremely strict requirements as it pertains to weights and measures, probably more so than in the U.S. In addition to regulatory demands on final package weight, any drastic deviations could also have a negative impact on accuracy of the nutritional value of their products—potentially discrediting their brands in the eyes of consumers.

Nearly a decade ago, they decided to make an investment in technology—starting with HMI/SCADA—to drive better accuracy, quality and repeat ability in their process to manage their weights and measures program from ingredient scaling all the way through the finished product. Not only did they want to be able to prove with confidence that they were doing the RIGHT thing by way of the final product weight, but over time, they were able to tighten and better control the weights as well to the tune of a 5% margin of error.

In a world where one penny of savings per finished product translates to millions of dollars (or pounds in this case), technology not only helps avoid risk, but has a huge financial benefit as well. Leverage technology to your advantage with Operational Excellence, and realize the benefits of improving production efficiency through supply chain stability and better transparency.

How transparent is your supply chain?

Katie Moore

Katie Moore believes that brilliant manufacturing will transform the industry, giving early adopters of connected technology a lead in the competitive marketplace. A former plant manager, Katie has managed plant operations for Bimbo Bakeries USA, Sara Lee Corporation and Anheuser-Busch.

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