In today’s fast-paced business world, optimizing your supply chain is essential for staying competitive and efficient. With the right supply chain tools at your disposal, you can streamline operations, boost productivity, and save valuable time. Many professionals rely on MS Excel as the go-to software for supply chain and procurement tasks but creating detailed dashboards can be time-consuming and exhausting. In this article, we will explore six of such supply chain tools that will revolutionize your workflow, ultimately saving you up to 30 hours of valuable time!
Top 6 Supply Chain Tools to Help You Save Time
# 1 – Distribution Operations Assessment Tool
In the competitive world of distributorship, staying up-to-date with supply chain and logistics developments is crucial for success. To improve operations and stay ahead of the competition, many distributors are turning to assessment tools to evaluate performance and identify areas for improvement. This Distribution Operations Assessment tool can be used by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Principal Corporates, and distributors themselves to gain insight into materials management and logistics knowledge, identify gaps in skills and knowledge, and foster critical thinking and self-awareness. With scores, analyses, and graphs, this supply chain tool provides a comprehensive evaluation of materials management competency and help set a course for improvement.
This supply chain tool includes 58 questions across three categories, namely: what to expect from a distributor in terms of basic management capabilities, logistics capabilities, and materials management capabilities. By using this tool, businesses can better assess their supply chain operations and identify areas for improvement.
# 2 – Inventory Optimization Tool in Excel
Inventory is a vital component for wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers, representing valuable assets in the form of the products they sell. Efficiently managing inventory is crucial for maintaining optimal cash flow and meeting customer service expectations. This is where the Inventory Optimization Tool comes into play, offering a necessary process to ensure inventory is optimized. However, with various inventory optimization models available, choosing the right one can be a challenge.
Allocating a significant amount of cash flow to inventory is essential to ensure a smooth production flow and meet customer demands effectively. However, inventory management also involves costs related to holding or carrying inventory and opportunity costs. As a result, identifying effective strategies for inventory reduction and optimization becomes vital for professionals in supply chain and operations.
The task of inventory optimization is often time-consuming and demanding. I vividly recall my days as a planner, where every three months, I had to extract data from the ERP system, organize it, identify excess and obsolete items, recalculate safety stock levels, and analyze changes in production methods (made-to-stock or made-to-order) while conducting a comprehensive ABC analysis. This process alone required dedicated effort for three to five days.
This inventory optimization tool in Excel that will do all that and more in a far less amount of time rather than days.
Output from the Inventory Optimization Tool includes:
- Total cost of goods sold
- Current inventory levels
- Planned safety stock value
- Inventory turnover rate
- Days on hand (inventory holding period)
- Current on-hand inventory value (both in dollars and as a percentage of the total) categorized by months of stock coverage
- Inventory optimization proposals, including:
- Stock-to-stock transitions with new safety stock levels
- Stock-to-non-stock transitions
- Non-stock-to-non-stock transitions
- Non-stock-to-stock transitions with new safety stock levels
- Current on-hand inventory profile based on:
- Usable inventory
- Excess inventory
- Obsolete inventory
# 3 – Logistics KPI Dashboard Excel Template
For Logistics and Supply Chain Managers, having the right tools to track performance is crucial. One such tool is the Logistics KPI Dashboard Excel Template, which provides data on key metrics and helps identify areas for improvement. This dashboard allows managers to compare current performance to previous periods and targets, as well as track trends in their business. With a customizable format, this dashboard is a comprehensive yet manageable solution for Supply Chain and Logistics Managers looking to monitor their operations and track performance over time.
This Logistics KPIs Dashboard showcases KPIs in six key areas of performance management:
- Culture-related KPIs
# 4 – Supply Chain KPI Dashboard Excel Template
The Supply Chain KPI Dashboard is a powerful tool for businesses to monitor and improve their supply chain performance. This customizable Excel tool provides a clear definition and measurement of KPIs, helping you keep your targets SMART and drive continuous improvement. By using this dashboard, you can systematically measure performance, improve communication throughout the supply chain, identify areas for improvement, and provide feedback to drive motivation and direct behavior towards expected results. Whether you’re a supply chain or logistics manager, this dashboard provides comprehensive yet manageable KPIs to help you manage your operations effectively. With the ability to monitor previous years, current year vs. targets, and future performance, this dashboard is an essential tool for any business looking to optimize their supply chain.
# 5 – Procurement KPI Dashboard Excel Template
Effective supply chain management requires the use of various tools and metrics to monitor and improve performance. One such tool is the Procurement KPI Dashboard, which provides a customizable Excel template for measuring and controlling key performance indicators in procurement. By setting SMART targets and driving continuous improvement, this dashboard can lead to better performance, improved communication, and identification of areas for improvement. Procurement KPIs are essential for evaluating and monitoring the efficiency of procurement management, optimizing spending, quality, time, and cost, and achieving overall process goals and business objectives. With this dashboard, businesses can stay on track and achieve success in their supply chain management.
# 6 – Warehouse Audit Tool to Improve Performance
This Warehouse Audit Checklist Tool allows you to assess the performance of your warehouse and identify areas for improvement. This tool not only encourages employee involvement and responsibility in driving warehouse improvement, but also helps staff reflect on their role and contribution to key processes. Additionally, the tool allows staff to see and reflect on their peers’ contribution assessment, and focuses on the development of employees’ judgment skills. Developed through a research project with Manchester Business School, this supply chain tool is an essential component of any successful supply chain management strategy.
The warehouse audit tool examines the characteristics and dimensions of warehouse management across six key parts:
- Internal Areas:
- Security check
- Safety briefing
- Floor plan
- And more
- External Areas:
- And more
- Systems, Planning, and Equipment:
- IT systems
- Mechanical handling equipment
- Key warehouse processes
- Movement of goods
- Vehicle booking system
- Scheduling of vehicles
- Health and Safety:
- Internal health and safety measures
- External health and safety considerations
- Staff awareness
- And more
- Inbound & Inspection:
- Non-conformance product and packaging
- Scheduling of vehicle arrivals
- Dispatch, Housekeeping, and Performance Measurement:
- Picking processes
- Warehouse performance management
- Training initiatives
- Shift allocation
- Employee utilization
- And more
By examining these areas, the warehouse audit tool provides a comprehensive assessment of warehouse management, enabling organizations to identify areas for improvement and ensure efficient and effective operations within their warehouse facilities.
Supply Chain Tools to Save You Time
In today’s competitive business landscape, optimizing your supply chain management is essential to stay ahead of the curve. By leveraging advanced supply chain tools, you can automate manual processes, gain valuable insights, and make data-driven decisions—ultimately saving you up to 30 hours. From Distribution Operations Assessment to a comprehensive Procurement KPI dashboard, the tools mentioned in this article offer an extensive solution to streamline your supply chain.
About the Author – Dr Muddassir Ahmed
Dr MuddassirAhmed is the Founder & CEO of SCMDOJO. He is a global speaker, vlogger and supply chain industry expert with 17 years of experience in the Manufacturing Industry in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia in various Supply Chain leadership roles. Dr. Muddassir has received a PhD in Management Science from Lancaster University Management School. Muddassir is a Six Sigma black belt and founded the leading supply chain platform SCMDOJO to enable supply chain professionals and teams to thrive by providing best-in-class knowledge content, tools and access to experts.