Benefits of Vecco Control Tower in Life Sciences – Part 5

Benefits of Vecco Control Tower in Life Sciences – Part 5

Supply Chain Event Management

Scenario Name: Supply Chain Event Management

Industry Segment: Drug, testing supply and medical device manufacturing companies with a strong need for:

  • Dynamic detection, analysis and resolution of a broad range of business problems along their end-to-end, global supply chain.
  • Awareness of the occurrence of critical supply chain events
  • The capability of issuing problem tickets to trigger and execute collaborative workflows to resolve the supply chain issues
  • Key performance indicators (KPI) and statistics built upon historical supply chain problems and events for continuing improvements of supply chain quality and efficiency
  • Projected Key performance indicator predictions based upon business forecast and plan changes
  • Rapid onboarding of acquired companies with differing installed ERP and supply chain software

Company Size: Any

Example Company in this segment: Phillips, Agilent, Bausch & Lomb, Boston Scientific, P&G, Bosch, Honeywell Telemedicine Division, etc.

Department(s): Supply Chain Operations (or Purchasing)

User: All supply chain planners and operators, company supply chain VP or director

Economic Buyer: VP Supply Chain, VP Operations, VP Purchasing, VP (director) Services (or Technical Support)

Technical Buyer: CIO, Senior Management IT

A Day in the Life (Before)

Scene or Situation: One of the most important aspects of a company’s supply chain business is real-time visibility into the problems and the occurrence of key supply chain events. Some companies may also want to the mechanism to use the event to automatically trigger workflows to execute a collaborative problem solving process. It is through seeing and resolving problems and reacting to key events responsively, that the company can operate a quality supply chain business with a low cost. As well, the higher management needs to see aggregated historical information of the supply chain performance. One of the importance pieces of the information is the statistics of the historical problem occurrence and the analyses. Management needs these capabilities regardless of the varying enterprise systems that existing plants and newly acquired plants may have installed.

Desired Outcome: Real-time alerts of supply chain problems and notifications of key supply chain events. Alerts and notifications are pushed to related users in an explicit fashion and multiple communication approaches. Alerts and notifications should include concise information of the case. Alerts can be escalated if actions are not initiated for resolution of the problem within specified time window. Centralized places for user to view all the alerts to conduct “management by exception”. Problem tickets can be issued to kick off a workflow, conducting a multi-party collaborative process to solve the problem. Once issues are resolved, business alerts should disappear to signal the effect of the problem solving. User can define or customize business rules based on which alerts and notifications are generated and delivered. Navigation from the alerts to underlying business data is available for analyses. Reports can be generated from historical alerts.

Attempted Approach: Supply chain problems are buried in daily transactional data such as orders and shipments. These systems are legacy systems, and, although the Company is undergoing a migration to a global ERP solution, this is a multi-year roll out. The Company is also a serial acquirer, constantly bringing on new divisions and brands with heterogeneous systems. The company has limited real time links to key suppliers, and even fewer links to the key root suppliers that feed the first tier suppliers with key sole source ingredients and components. Users must go through these disparate business systems to find all the relevant data, and then must transform it into common formats for analysis. Once the problems are found, users may need to manually make linkages between data in different business systems to search for a resolution. Problem solving is often performed in an “ad-hoc” manner. After an approach has been taken to solve the problem, the same data searching is needed to see the effect of the problem-solving process. Reports on historical problems may need to be generated by gathering a large number of data in different business documents.

Interfering Factors:

  • No real-time visibility into supply chain business problems and key events. Issues can only be known after hours or days
  • No real time or near real-time linkage to key suppliers and distributors’ information
  • Problems must be found through manual analysis on a system by system basis
  • Time-consuming work to put all necessary data together from possibly various database for the analysis of root causes
  • May not have well-organized problem solving processes
  • Latency in showing the effect of the problem solving
  • Difficult to create reports on historical problems, virtually impossible to do forecasts in useful form

Economic Consequences:

  • Lack of responsiveness in detecting and resolving supply chain problems, higher supply chain costs and business losses
  • Poor efficiency and high costs in the process of finding, analyzing, solving supply chain problems and verifying the effect of the problem solving
  • No effective support for generating business wide critical KPIs from historical supply chain business problems, hence missing a key for continuing improvement of supply chain quality and efficiency

A Day in the Life (After)

New Approach: Real-time alerts on supply chain problems and notifications of key supply chain events are generated by the Control Tower system automatically. Alerts and notifications are delivered to related users in email, SMS and other instant communication means. Generated alerts and notifications contain basic information of the issue. Alerts are escalated and delivered to related users repeatedly if actions are not taken within a specified time window. User can log onto the system to view all alerts and notifications in a single user screen. User can navigate from an alert to underlying business data to conduct detailed analyses to find the root cause of the problem. User can solely take actions or collaborate with co-workers to solve the problem. The collaboration can be achieved by issuing a problem ticket to initiate a workflow which invites all concerned parties to participate in the problem solving process in a well-defined and organized way. Once the issue is resolved, the alert disappears immediately. User can define or customize alert generation rules and subscribe to the alerts of interest. Alert summary is provided for high-level review. Reports can be generated on historical alerts.

The Control Tower is capable of interfacing to virtually all enterprise systems the company or its partners are using. Some systems may have existing data portals, other systems are capable of exporting and importing data in flat files, still others are compatible with EDI tools. All can work with the Control Tower, without requiring any change to their programming, because the Tower can accept their data in their native format, and send data back to them in their format.

Users also gain a powerful new ‘what if’ scenario planning capability, with the ability to simulate the effect of various problem solving alternatives across the entire value chain, to ascertain the optimal choice of action.  Having a ‘drawing board’ to evaluate different options across the value chain is highly valuable to an operator and is not usually available other than by extracting data into spreadsheets – which are usually only interpretable to the person who created them and which are not synchronized to the same data as the many underlying operational systems.

This capability also speeds operational integration of acquisitions. There is no need to wait for systems migrations prior to integrating workflows and collaborative management.

“Manage by exception”, this is the day in the new life of the Supply chain professional inside the company and with its key partners.


Enabling Factors:

  • Vecco Supply Manager, Demand Manager, Logistics Conductor or E2E Conductor
  • Overnight file exchanges with key suppliers
  • Collaborative approach to Supply management

Resources Not Required:

  • No changes to existing enterprise systems at the company or its suppliers
  • No new IT hardware
  • No increase to Company data center workload, after set up of daily file exchanges

Economic Rewards:

  • Higher speed of detecting and resolving supply chain quality and efficiency problems, lower supply chain operating costs and minimized business losses
  • Implementation of “manage by exception” leads to highly effective and efficient supply chain monitoring and management team
  • Problem ticketing workflows systematically ensure the involvement of all related parties, facilitating fast and effective problem solving procedures
  • Automatic generation of reports on historical supply chain problems provides most needed direction for continuing improvements of the company’s supply chain business
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