The COVID-19 crisis has affected manufacturing companies all across the world over the last few months. Learning how to deal with massive changes in production and attempting to avoid supply chain disruption is a difficult task, one that most businesses have never before had to face at this large of a scale. So, what can these manufacturers, both large and small, do to cope with supply-chain shocks? In this article we will discuss how a Specification Management System can help your company survive these unexpected, unprecedented times and keep your supply chain running efficiently by digitizing your processes, increasing visibility, and ensuring overall data privacy.
From Paper to Digital Processes
A lot of manufacturing companies still rely on paper processes to keep track of their supply chain. This is often because they have determined the cost of doing so does not bring enough efficiency or security to justify the switch. So, they stick with old fashioned filing and Excel sheets to organize their information. However, protective measures for COVID-19 have made it clear that operations dependent on physical assets, such as paper, can face serious interruption when physical presence is not a possibility. For one, paper printouts and signatures need to be handled in person by hired employees. In addition, value chains and stakeholders that rely on information in these paper documents become unable to access them and end up out of the loop with vital changing conditions.
Digitizing, then, is not just a matter of cost, but also of managing supply chain risk. To limit the impact of points of failure in the value chain, it is important to make data available through digital means. In the current COVID-19 pandemic, businesses with a strong digital foundation deal with supply chain disruptions much better than those without. Through the use of a Specification Management System, which offers the use of e-signatures, version control capabilities, and digitization of important business documents, your company can avoid disruption. Your files are available to everyone at any stage in production, from wherever they may be working. So, even though a lot of your employees may be working remotely, you do not need to worry about document accessibility and your collaboration processes can run as they usually do.
Another important piece of avoiding supply chain disruption is maintaining visibility throughout your processes. Visibility is the basis for better and more comprehensive decision-making as it enables companies to avoid disruptive bottlenecks, such as those caused by the Coronavirus. Essentially, a supply chain without visibility is like driving in fog. And with so many people working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, efforts to clear this fog are increasingly difficult.
Luckily, a spec management system can assist in keeping your supply chain visibility as clear as possible. The purpose of specification management software is to streamline the creation, collaboration, review, approval, and distribution of your specifications and automate the parts of your processes that are highly manual. Establishing one centralized platform for managing your specifications and other critical business documents gives you the power to organize parent bill of materials (BOMs), manage suppliers, and automate your review and approval method; all to ensure visibility across all of your processes. Your supply chain becomes better connected and communication flows easier from beginning to end, allowing your company to adjust to the current global conditions with no worry of disruption.
Ensuring Data Privacy
During this crisis, most of your collaboration is probably getting done through electronic communication. And most companies digitally correspond in the supply chain through email and Excel spreadsheets. When passed back and forth only between two parties in the supply chain, data privacy is easily controllable and not a concern. When the data in these communications needs to be distributed to more parties, however, traditional supply chain systems cannot grant independent and auditable access controls to each individual party. In order to give manufacturers the data privacy they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, a more centralized, organized system is essential.
A specification management system with private and/or public permissions meets this criteria. When created properly, suppliers can audit their data-sharing permissions directly. At the same time, their data can be securely distributed to others in or outside of their internal network. Therefore, data is only seen by those meant to see it and there is no risk of cybersecurity threats. Your company information is safe, and your supply chain can go on uninterrupted.
How Can ENSUR Help?
The ENSUR Specification Management Software is a comprehensive system for creating, maintaining and publishing your specifications and business documents. The browser-based system is available on-premises or in our GxP compliant Cloud so that your employees and stakeholders can access the system anytime, anywhere. Fully integrated with our document management features, the software allows for complete control over who can access which documents and tracks all activities with the ability to create reports for visibility and compliance.
If your company is having issues adjusting to the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the manufacturing industry, we can help. Contact us today to see how our ENSUR Specification Management System can make sure you avoid supply chain disruption during these unprecedented times.