The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has thrust supply chain activities into the public eye. As unpredicted demand for certain goods and global lockdowns have wreaked havoc on operations, they’ve also exposed problems with supply chain planning. But to the forward-thinking organization, a challenge is just another word for “opportunity.”
Now is the time to rethink your supply chain planning to help improve its resilience, risk mitigation, and sustainability. Infor solutions can give your organization the intelligent, real-time supply chain orchestration and data-driven insights you need to deliver to your customers on time—every time. Plus, the software is intuitive with a consumer-grade user experience.
This article covers the features, benefits, and how to overcome common issues with Infor SCM to help you determine if it’s the right solution to support your business. Let’s dive in.
What is Infor SCM?
A set of comprehensive supply planning solutions, Infor SCM provides real-time orchestration by connecting businesses to their partners and digitally transforming planning to delivery processes. The solutions are industry-specific and built for the cloud to help you save money, improve security and uptime, and enable scalability. The suite also combines data with predictive and prescriptive insights from Infor Coleman artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver a smarter supply chain.
Let’s take a closer look at the key features and functionality.
Customizable supply planning solutions make it much easier to streamline tactical, strategic, and operational planning processes, all of which help organizations meet business requirements like multi-site planning, balancing product mix, demand planning, and reducing shelf-life constraints.
The dynamic demand management feature uses AI and machine learning to predict and fulfill demand based on real-time data and advanced data science. That information helps your retailers with demand forecasting, financial and assortment planning, lifecycle pricing, and replenishment optimization.
Warehouse fulfillment that combines 3D visual analysis and embedded labor management helps to reduce complexity and enhance operations. Not only that, but the warehouse management tool also improves productivity and order accuracy thanks to B2B and B2C fulfillment support and labor management.
Improve response and decision-making with a shared platform, common KPIs, and planning data repositories. Gain visibility, analytics, and collaboration capabilities to reduce costs and increase services.
Production scheduling helps optimize resources, reduce downtime, and increase capacity. Manufacturers can respond to changes quickly with modeling capabilities and automation.
Infor Nexus connects businesses to suppliers, banks, manufacturers, and 3PLs in a single cloud-based platform. This helps businesses predict and respond to changes through apps with advanced planning, execution, and finance capabilities through Infor Nexus.
The transportation management feature allows you to manage global multi-leg, multi-mode transportation across various parties. By connecting worldwide service providers across geographies and transportation activities, you can achieve reliability, control, and customer delivery.
What are some of the key advantages of the solution? Why choose it over the competition? Here are a few benefits that we think you’re going to like.
Enhance forecasting with probabilistic forecasting methods and a collaborative demand planning platform. You’ll also gain better predictive insights with performance dashboards and a consumer-grade user experience to increase productivity.
Reduce out-of-stocks and lost revenue by ensuring demand and supply through your digital channels and receive alerts to learn about issues before they become a problem. Inventory optimization is key in today’s environment to meet any demand and supply swings as they come.
Improve Costs and Compliance
Automating your document creation and order management will lead to better compliance. Suppliers can improve processes and reduce errors by creating invoices from purchase orders or packing lists. Finally, payment and chargeback management will improve supplier relationships and save money.
Supply Chain Visibility
Boost order accuracy and availability with increased visibility across the entire supply chain. Access to real-time visibility with IoT data increases speed, quality, and shipment availability statuses.
4 Common Infor Lawson Supply Chain Management Challenges—And How to Overcome Them
As useful as the suite can be, however, we’ve found that some of our clients aren’t making the most of what they have, from not being aware of the integrated business planning features to completely not knowing about parts of the suite entirely.
While you can get by using the basics of the suite for a little while, you’ll eventually run into big problems down the road like overpayments, extra work, and inaccurate reports.
To help you take advantage of those extra features, we’ve put together a list of common challenges organizations tend to have and some build-ahead strategies for solving them.
1) Purchase Order Problems
During a recent assessment, one of our consultants discovered that a majority of a client’s purchase orders (almost 90 percent!) had been created for several vendors off contract, costing them extra work and potentially lost profits. We recommend fixing the purchase order process from KanBan locations so that all purchases would be ordered on contract moving forward.
2) Insufficient Data and Reporting
We all know the importance of data. Not only do you need real-time market data, but it needs to be accurate and reliable for you to make the most of reporting. Millions of dollars in Open POs, for example, would be a scary sight for anyone to find, especially if you don’t know how to slice and dice that data to get to the root of the problem, but that’s exactly what one of our consultants discovered for a client. That’s why it’s so essential to perform a data cleanup and work with your vendors to improve standards, as well as why a firm grasp of data and quantity analysis reports can come in handy.
3) Lack of Training
Training is crucial when it comes to technology and not just during implementation. New features and updates are delivered regularly throughout the lifecycle of the SCM suite, and you need to understand how those changes impact your process and organization. We recommend custom training for application-specific areas, as well as custom overview training on the Infor Lawson modules so that you and your team understand how they all work together.
As an example, a consultant of ours noticed that a client was underutilizing Lawson Mobile Supply Chain Management (MSCM) technology, only using it for PAR counting for a small number of PAR locations, which led to a lack of accountability and discrepancies in actual inventory. When our consultant dug into the issue, a lack of training on how to make the most of MSCM and Receiving & Delivery (RAD) was the culprit.
Training your logistics team on all the features Lawson Supply Chain Management has to offer is key to taking full advantage of the suite’s many functionalities.
4) Inefficient Processes and Practices
Inefficient processes and practices are the fourth and largest entry on our list, and that’s because they’re one of the biggest issues we’ve noticed clients running into. It’s when they build up over time, however, that they can gunk up the system. Take mass purchase orders for example. One of our clients was running a mass purchase order (PO120) every half an hour by buyer, which was majorly slowing things down. We recommended streamlining this process by only running PO120 3-4 times per day for all issue methods (such as paper, fax, EDI, email, etc.).
Another example of further streamlining opportunities is in the purchase order interface from Lawson applications. One of our clients had a complex, multi-step job stream for each buyer, which not only added an unnecessary amount of extra stress on the system but also caused the process to take up far more time than needed. Our recommendation was to set up a job stream that creates released purchase orders for filtered options (i.e., inventory items or vendors), freeing up buyers to focus on Unreleased POs.
Finally, another common inefficiency issue we’ve seen hospitals run into is how they set up their vendors. A client, as described, set up two different vendors as “one-time vendors” even though they’d been used 4,700 and 14,000 times over a roughly 2-year period. If you’re using a vendor regularly, the best practice is to complete due diligence and set them up as a regular vendor. It might take a little more production planning on the front end, but once you’ve done so, the savings will be tremendous.
Partnering with Surety Systems on Supply Chain Planning
We agree that Infor solutions can help you maximize profits, optimize operations, and analyze results across the entire supply chain. According to Infor, customers experience:
- 25% reduction in supply chain costs
- 40% reduction in wastage costs
- 98% reduction in invoice process time
- 8-15% increase in team productivity
At Surety Systems, we understand that navigating supply chain planning is challenging. Our senior-level Infor consulting team has the one-two punch of Infor experience and deep industry knowledge needed to help you build your entire supply planning process and system — so you can gain real-time visibility in the supply chain.
Our consultants will start with an assessment of your current sales and operations planning, and from there, we can identify pain points and offer solutions. We also pride ourselves on the fact that our consultants will teach you how to figure out supply chain management, ensuring that you understand how to identify potential problems or bottlenecks that may arise in the future, as well as how to handle them, so that you can keep your system running smoothly.
How Can We Help?
Whether you’re ready to make the most of your Infor Lawson Supply Chain Management Suite, or you’re interested in learning more about Infor’s CloudSuite supply chain solutions, we’ve got you covered. And, even better, we’ve included an example profile of one of our Infor SCM consultants so you have a better idea of what you’re getting when you partner with us.
Surety Senior Infor SCM Consultant
- 10+ years of Lawson Supply Chain Management experience
- Infor Lawson v10 and Cloudsuite v11 expertise
- Infor Lawson v10 and Cloudsuite v11 expertise
- Mobile SCM, Procurement Module Support, and Punchout experience
- Implementations, Upgrades and Training experience
- Certified Oracle Procurement Specialist
- Healthcare industry experience
Contact us today to learn how we can partner with you on any of your Infor projects. We’ll have a representative contact you within a few business days.