Paperless supply chain was once a fantasy in the world of business. While it may sound impossible decades ago, this did not stop operators from finding ways to make business operations more efficient. Operators need to make sure that the staff, equipment, facilities, and the IT department are always working in optimum levels because even the smallest changes can have a big overall impact.
One of the areas they want to improve is workflow. Although the old systems are still the heart of the supply chain, they are well past their use-by date. They have done an admirable job, but businesses need to improve their processes. Only by doing so, they will be able to enhance their customer service as well as their bottom line. Paper has been part of the supply chain since its inception. Could this really be the end of its use?
Paper has been part of every business process – from customer orders to delivery dockets. But, its end has finally arrived. Technology has advanced to the point where manual processes are replaced by automation of both internal and external workflows. Many have replaced their ball points with bits already, but some businesses are still hesitant to invest in technology that may change their work practices due to two main reasons: initial cost and disruption during implementation.
Benefits of Paperless Supply Chain
Paperless supply chain offers immediate benefits. The new systems will free up staffs to focus on customer service and other value-added tasks by removing the need for paper-based and double-entry processes. They will streamline company operations to boost service levels, increase customer satisfaction and reduce costs. Moreover, they can significantly reduce errors as orders, invoices and shipment can be viewed on screen in real-time.
The addition of RFID (Radio Frequency ID) chips and readers has made the paperless revolution even greater. The RFID allows companies to track the movement of cartons and pallets through the supply chain. At each point, information is communicated to the customer automatically, letting them estimate the delivery time. Everything is automated. The only manual effort involved is the physical movement of the products.
A paperless future is alluring. It offers immediate benefits to the supply chain operator, the logistics front and, most of all, the entire business. Moving to automated, paperless supply chain allows businesses to reduce their operating costs, provide high-quality customer service, and boost their efficiency. More importantly, through cost-effective solutions, even mid-sized business can now achieve regular software development and hardware cost reduction.