A company’s supply chain usually comprises all the operations between sourcing raw materials and delivering the product to customers. Along with this process, there are many challenges a company faces, some of which can be avoided or mitigated through knowledge management for the supply chain management.
Through knowledge management, supply chains have access to more complete and accurate information within the organization and external sources. The knowledge management process would entail the collection and analysis of data and the dissemination of information to the relevant stakeholders to maximize the value of its supply chain.
It also ensures that any changes within their environment are swiftly reported and acted on promptly.
One way knowledge management improves supply chain management is through analyzing information. The process of data analysis allows companies to become more efficient. This can be done by establishing a set of standard procedures for data collection, storage, and retrieval.
The company can determine areas for improvement and which processes do not function well through this process. The knowledge management method or process for supply chain management also allows companies to comprehend their strengths and weaknesses.
We will now look more into the benefits of KM in supply chain management.
Benefits of KM in Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management is a complex and extensive process that involves various actors from within the organization as well as outside. These actors include customers, suppliers, distributors, sales, and support teams. A successful supply chain requires coordination and mutual understanding at all levels.
KM can help improve these relationships, thereby making them more productive. This can be done through improved communication, sharing of information and knowledge, as well as the creation of common ground among all the participants. When there is a common ground, the supply chain has an increased ability to make accurate projections for future supply.
One way that KM improves the supply chain is by improving communication between different stakeholders. If there is no information sharing, there will be difficulty in understanding the role each party plays and how they interact throughout the supply chain. With knowledge management for supply chain management, critical information can be shared and understood by all participants. This forms a foundation for future success for the organization and improves relationships with suppliers, customers, distributors, and sales.
In this scenario, customers are given personalized service and tailored products. This allows companies to stand out from their competitors and achieve a competitive advantage. Furthermore, KM for supply chain management also helps in reducing costs associated with the delivery of a product or service.
Here are the main benefits of KM in supply chain management.
1. A centralized knowledge repository for information needs
Having a centralized knowledge repository software allows the supply chain teams to have fast and easy access to the information within the organization. For example, it can serve as a central source for procedures and ‘how-to’s’ for employees in various departments.
With reduced duplication of effort and time-saving, knowledge is more effectively utilized. Access to knowledge and expertise also increases employee participation, commitment, and loyalty since they do not need to spend time searching for answers or resources.
This can improve the effectiveness of supply chain management in terms of:
- Enhancing innovation, speed to market, and customer satisfaction
- Improving responsiveness and flexibility
- Significantly reducing risks and costs associated with supply chain management
2. Encourages knowledge sharing
The process of knowledge management has a positive impact on employee performance and encourages them to be more willing to share information. Through this process, employees are more motivated to participate in knowledge-sharing activities and have a greater sense of team ownership when they share information with their peers. A high level of communication leads to increased trust at all levels within the organization, which as a result, leads to better customer experiences.
Knowledge management for the supply chain helps businesses improve the visibility of their supply chain and ensures that they can manage it quickly and effectively. For example, a company would know exactly how much inventory they need to order and when they need to order it to meet their customer demands. This also means that the company can plan ahead by accepting pre-orders from customers or by scheduling production in advance.
3. Ensures products and services quality assurance
When the supply chain is integrated and well managed, products are delivered promptly and at the highest possible quality. With better quality assurance, customers receive better services, which increases their satisfaction.
Knowledge management is also essential as it increases the quality of employees’ work. It provides them with easy, quick, and accurate access to any information they need. This improves the productivity and motivation of employees since they do not have to waste time searching for information.
Many companies implementing a knowledge management strategy have seen improvements in their customer service levels, employee engagement, and financial performance.
In terms of cost-effectiveness, knowledge management for supply chain management provides:
- Efficient resources management
- Lower risk through improved decisions
- Systematic process control and improvement
4. Improves real-time decision making for efficient supply chain management
Knowledge management tools like interactive decision trees provides companies with instant access to relevant information, which improves their decision-making capabilities. When objectives and targets are clearly defined and communicated, they ensure that they receive the right products at the right time. This means that the supply chain team can provide real-time information to customers, which helps improve the overall customer experience.
Due to effective information sharing, supply chains are able to establish a better understanding of their organization’s strengths, weaknesses, and competitors. At the same time, they can determine opportunities for improvement even before their suppliers make any changes.
This allows them to initiate meaningful discussions about how changes will affect their supply chains. It also improves communication with buyers, suppliers, and end consumers, which helps in reducing costs associated with ineffective communication.
Through knowledge management for supply chain management, supply chains have a higher degree of transparency and efficiency while leading to better customer experiences. Companies need to ensure that they have appropriately established their knowledge management strategy and implemented it effectively to benefit from this process.