The needs of CPG brands in last-mile product customization today are far more complex than those of a decade ago. Suppliers who provide services in assembly, kitting, labeling, labor, and WIP management now have to work with short run orders, variable run orders, and very little lead time.
Suppliers unable to meet the market’s evolving needs for complex logistics lose out on significant business opportunities, and one of the most common contributors. is that most suppliers get stuck using the wrong tool (ERP) to solve problems outside the scope of its design.
Suppliers with bimodal capabilities, on the other hand, leverage ERP megasuites and domain-driven SaaS apps together and boost the intuition of their operations–they become more agile, responsive, and flexible.
A bimodal approach which can flexibly accommodate unique workflows helps to reduce the risk that the people on your shop floor attempt to implement ad hoc workarounds (like ever-more daunting spreadsheets) to simply get work done. This is a common scenario with stiff and difficult-to-use ERP systems.
1. Rapid Adoption SaaS apps receive rapid, widespread end-user adoption because their user interfaces are designed for industry-specific roles, are easy to understand, intuitive to use, and designed to make people’s lives easier.
2. Process ChampionsOperations managers can make direct adjustments to how SaaS apps work to safely differentiate processes, and meet CPG brand customers’ diverse needs without siphoning bandwidth (and using time) from their internal IT teams.
3. Rapid InnovationThe speed at which SaaS vendors introduce new functionality and the control that end-users have over configuration means that innovation is iterative and continuous. Managing business process refinements within an ERP’s enhancement cycles, on the other hand, is a slow, demotivating, and resource-intensive process.
4. Intuitive Collaboration Specialized solutions make it easier to spot inefficiencies on the shop floor and elsewhere in a workflow. Suppliers can now reach out to brand owners with data to diagnose issues and work together to brainstorm solutions in minutes, rather than hours or days.
5. Happy IT IT teams work the best when they focus on their core competencies. By outsourcing Mode 2 challenges, internal IT teams can reclaim their internal capacity to optimize Mode 1 challenges, and collaborate with external Mode 2 specialists eager to meet their needs.
It’s clear that ERP capabilities aren’t able to satisfy the needs of suppliers and brands that require cost-effective, agile, and networked ways of executing mass customization. it’s a good thing reinforcements are available
Next week, we wrap up our series on Last-Mile Mastery with some tips on future-proofing your operations. We will also take a look at some of the recent stats that indicate the direction the industry is headed in to handle the growing influx of mass-customization demand into the supply chain.
See how 3PLs, contract packagers and corrugators can win by combining ERP with cloud apps
Jason is a co-founder, CEO and brand ambassador for Nulogy. He is focused on corporate development, executive leadership, and understanding the evolving landscape of Nulogy’s clients. He is also on Nulogy’s board and speaks throughout the industry on the agile supply chain.