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How cloud software can boost supply chain visibility

Posted by Ian Hepworth

13-Nov-2015 10:00:00

As supplyHow cloud software can boost supply chain visibility chains reach new levels of complexity, it also becomes more difficult to maintain supply chain visibility throughout multiple tiers of suppliers. Changes in buyer behaviours and the rise of fast fashion has placed a strain on retailers and their sourcing practices. In order to meet these new demands, retailers often use multiple suppliers and manufacturers across the globe to keep operations running. 

However, the need for supply chain visibility in the garment industry has reached a new level of urgency in the past few months. In October, the Modern Slavery Act was introduced in the UK, requiring businesses with a turnover threshold of over £36 million to publically declare actions taken to minimise the risk of slavery throughout their supply chains. Without visibility, incidents of modern slavery can easily slip through the net.

Cloud technology

While cloud technology has been around for the best part of 20 years, some supply chain managers are still hesitant to migrate their systems to the cloud, reports Supply Demand Chain Executive. However, the effort required to upgrade to the cloud is far overshadowed by the substantial benefits to supply chain visibility. 

For instance, our cloud-based supply chain visibility solution makes it possible for garment retailers and manufacturers to trace the journey of individual orders fulfilled by any nominated supplier. Our cloud software helps customers in several different ways....

Accessing supply chain information 

For large garment retailers operating in multiple locations across the globe, it can be difficult to make relevant information easily accessible to employees and suppliers. If important data is kept on paper files or on physical servers, employees may need to be on site to access company information. With cloud computing, any authorised parties can access information instantly on any mobile device, making it easy to conduct business and keep track of operations wherever you are based. 

Our cloud-based solution enables retailers to interact with a large number of nominated suppliers, all of whom are required to self-register on the Segura platform. Orders are placed by the retailer and accepted by suppliers through the software, which creates a comprehensive audit trail to achieve supply chain visibility. 

All parties involved in an order can access the same information, such as order details and production status. This removes a plethora of problems caused by unaccountable networks of secondary suppliers, as supply chain data is universally accessible and consistently updated.

Reacting to changes in the supply chain

When a supplier fails to deliver on time, a complex supply chain can grind to a halt. This can create a snowball effect that impacts upon the entire supply chain. Garment retailers in particular can face a catastrophe if they miss out on the chance to deliver a new fashion trend. 

However, with Segura’s cloud-based software, retailers and manufacturers can receive real-time alerts if certain supply chain deadlines are missed, such as the production or shipping of a particular component. Retailers and suppliers can access the platform online, on any device and from any location, enabling them to deal with any issues as quickly as possible. 

With this new insight, retailers can make quick and informed decisions. Perhaps placing a new order or using a different supplier in future could minimise supply chain delays. 

Ensuring ethical standards are met 

While most retailers know who their main sources are, the supply chain can become murky the further down the tiers you go. Although most retailers will ensure that their primary suppliers have undergone factory auditing and ethical checks, the same cannot always be said for secondary suppliers. Without complete visibility, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure that only authorised suppliers are involved in your supply chain.

Segura’s cloud solution makes it simple to place orders with nominated suppliers and contractors, and monitor the movement of orders through the fulfilment process. If orders are filled by suppliers outside of your approved supplier list, you can receive a notification in real time. With this level of visibility, retailers can react to unauthorised suppliers entering the supply chain and use alternative sources if necessary. 

Supply chain transparency: A guide for garment retailers

Topics: supply chain transparency