MHIA Supply Chain Execution Industry Group releases quarterly report

The Summer 2010 report says the importance of information to the success of supply chains is stronger than ever given economic conditions.

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The Supply Chain Execution Systems & Technologies (SCE) Industry Group of Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) has released its Summer 2010 Quarterly Report - “A Better Information Flow for Improved Supply Chain Execution.”  The report asserts that the importance of information to the success of supply chains is stronger than ever given economic conditions.  Information is what connects every link of a supply chain, so supply chain execution software and related data capture technologies are key to creating a smooth, efficient, cost-effective flow of materials.

Supply chain execution solutions include enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), warehouse control systems (WCS), and data capture systems, to name five. How they are combined depends on the situation. The trick is to match the right combination of how you collect, disseminate and apply information to the systems and operations that move the goods.

“The advantage to using data systems and getting information is it will move to scale,” said KardexRemstar’s Ed Romaine, chair of MHIA’s Supply Chain Execution Industry Group. “When business is slow, you can use these systems to find efficiencies and reduce labor and inventory. When business is gangbusters they help you meet customer demand and expectations. Information flow within the SCE system allows you to work more efficiently, all the way from a work cell to a WMS and ERP system.”

Not only does the Supply Chain Execution Industry Group’s quarterly report provide value, the group itself provides value.  Romaine said, “The key to any MHIA group is to create value for its members.”  As a result, it is shifting its focus to evolve with the industry and broaden its scope.  In today’s environment, Romaine added, it’s all about gathering and processing information.  True success comes from the right combination of moving material and the information systems associated with its movement.

Modern’s executive editor Bob Trebilcock, agreed, “Information about the movement of goods has become as important these days as the physical movement of goods.”

In 2001, Trebilcock says, Modern began looking at the top WMS providers of for the Top 20 supply chain management software suppliers article, but the focus has evolved. “While the lines between supply chain execution and supply chain planning providers were once clearly drawn, that is no longer the case; ERP providers supply WMS, and supply chain execution providers supply planning and optimization solutions.”

With industry evolution and an economy that has forced companies to scrutinize business practices, quarterly reports like this can help MHIA members stay ahead of the curve by highlighting pertinent industry data and current trends.  So what are the trends to watch for?  According to Steve Banker, service director, supply chain management, for ARC Advisory Group, a couple of trends to watch in WMS are on software-as-a-service (SaaS) and the addition of images to RF scanners.  In TMS, Adrian Gonzalez, a director at ARC, says there’s a movement toward a holistic, end-to-end TMS footprint. And in manufacturing execution systems (MES), Simon Jacobson, research director, manufacturing operation at Gartner, says there’s a need for better connectivity with the enterprise and the rest of the supply chain.  “In the past, the supply chain had to respond to manufacturing.  Now, manufacturing needs to respond to the supply chain.  That’s an important change, and one the MES market is adapting to.”

Meanwhile, moving forward as Supply Chain Execution Industry Group chair, Romaine will continue to build on the value propositions that he believes bring the most benefit to group members: networking, education, business growth and lead development.

Click here to download Better Information Flow for Improved Supply Chain Execution.


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