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The Convergence of Ecommerce & JIT Manufacturing

The Convergence Of Ecommerce And JIT Manufacturing

Efficiency and cost-effectiveness have never been more important for manufacturing businesses. Rob Williams, CEO of the leading ecommerce company, Williams Commerce, says that revolutionary thinking and maturing technologies will be the route to a new manufacturing landscape.

Some manufacturers have historically focused on very labor-intensive approaches to sales, innovation and production. In a fast-changing digital environment, that won’t be an option for very much longer.

“Manufacturing companies that have embraced business to business (B2B) ecommerce have already been rewarded with increased sales. They are just starting to see the real potential of integration, connectivity and scalability. At the same time, the Millennial generation of professional buyers has developed a clear preference for online self-service, anytime and anywhere.

“The key to B2B ecommerce growth is providing your customers with real value-add in terms of self-service, optimizing buyer’s experiences to allow fast and efficient ordering. That’s why high quality personalization is increasingly driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and big data in the Cloud.

“Just as important are super-efficient business processes and integration that allow manufacturers to directly connect their B2B ecommerce customer portal right into the heart of their business. AI is also revolutionizing the way inventories are managed and how smart factories solve production problems on the shop floor.

“Cloudfy delivers game changing capabilities on both these fronts and we’re delighted to be creating amazing value for our rapidly growing customer base.

Efficiency and effectiveness

Inventory management can be a complicated matter for large organizations. Holding more stock than you need during any given time period takes up resources and can be costly. Not only can this prove to be ineffective, holding too much stock and not managing your inventory properly can lead to unfulfilled or incorrect orders which can have a negative impact on your reputation and relationships with your customers.

This is why for efficiency-minded manufacturers, just-in-time (JIT) production is a key tool to avoid waste and overproduction; creating products that meet immediate demand rather than creating stock for future sales. This is a supply chain management method, originating in Japan with their car manufacturers, whereby stock levels are maintained so that they meet customer demand and no more.

JIT also supports continuous improvement by simplifying systems and reducing the time needed to move from raw materials and component parts to finished products, distribution and delivery.

Effectively managing parts and materials, as they are needed, requires accurate demand forecasting and strong relationships with suppliers, Traditionally, to make JIT work, manufacturers needed to collate and analyze historic sales trends and demand variations. Capturing and processing real-time information, enabled by Cloud-based interconnectivity, information sharing and AI will improve customer service and enable a more efficient JIT approach.

From smart ecommerce to smart factories

Cloud-based ecommerce already allows materials and components to be ordered and processed within the hour to support lean manufacturing. Once the parts and raw materials arrive, automated production will improve efficiency and minimize human errors. Real time adaptation manufacturing workflows become a reality when ‘smart’ machines routinely communicate with each other as well as with other systems and people.

Futurescape

As an example, Harley Davidson’s implementation of JIT reduced inventory levels by 75% and increased production. A real-time bar coding system allows parts supply to be centralized, improving logistics and making better use of factory floor space.

Robots are now an integral part of the manufacturing process.

Another example of technology enabling JIT is 3D printing. Once an effective tool to create prototypes, this technology is already in use for low-volume production. Soon some products won’t need component parts. Instead, they will be created from digital patterns, as and when needed. This technology could change the face of logistics and redefine the meaning of the production line.

Scaleability

Rob Williams says: “Fragmented historic data collected throughout the supply chain can only take you so far. In my opinion, the next stage of transformation will come when consistent real-time data is transparently and securely shared in the Cloud throughout sales, production and distribution processes. This level of digital collaboration will inform innovation and improve customer satisfaction.

 “Even small and start-up businesses can benefit from this end-to-end approach to processes and information. It allows them to make efficient use of their capital and improve cash flow. It’s a great way to avoid tying up money in unneeded inventory and it will help them to grow.”

The ideal platform

To be on the safe side when implementing this approach for your online business, as well as taking precautions such as having multiple suppliers, you will require a B2B ecommerce platform that can not only support this, but also help make the most out of it. 

With Cloudfy being a modern cloud-based ecommerce platform, you can easily integrate with major business and ERP systems to streamline your supply chain management. 

Furthermore, Cloudfy’s Punchout technology allows users to access a company’s ecommerce website from their own e-procurement system, making ordering hassle-free and easier than ever before. 

Get started with Cloudfy

To find out more about digitally transforming your manufacturing business and how Cloudfy can help, please give us a call.

Simplify

Your Cloudfy setup comes complete with a rich slate of automation tools and customer self-service features designed to minimize the reliance on your staff for routine tasks. Less admin burden, simpler IT stack, and smoother customer experiences - all out-of-the-box in a fast, turn-key setup.

Core Benefits - Simplify

Save $$$

Boost your bottom line by lowering your IT costs and reducing your admin expenses. Cloudfy's automation tools can slash your processing costs and eliminate multiple software licenses. Plus, you benefit from the IT savings of a done-for-you SaaS solution over pricey in-house development.

Core Benefits - Save

Scale

Your Cloudfy solution includes the premier slate of b2b ecommerce features for multi-national distribution that can be switched on as your business scales and your needs adapt: EDI ordering, Punchout, Multi-Store Configurations, Multi-Warehousing, Multi-Currency, Multi-Lingual and so much more.

Core Benefits - Scale
Core Benefits - Simplify Core Benefits - Save Core Benefits - Scale
  • SIMPLIFY

    Your Cloudfy setup comes complete with a rich slate of automation tools and customer self-service features designed to minimize the reliance on your staff for routine tasks. Less admin burden, simpler IT stack, and smoother customer experiences - all out-of-the-box in a fast, turn-key setup.
  • SAVE $$$

    Boost your bottom line by lowering your IT costs and reducing your admin expenses. Cloudfy's automation tools can slash your processing costs and eliminate multiple software licenses. Plus, you benefit from the IT savings of a done-for-you SaaS solution over pricey in-house development.
  • SCALE

    Your Cloudfy solution includes the premier slate of b2b ecommerce features for multi-national distribution that can be switched on as your business scales and your needs adapt: EDI ordering, Punchout, Multi-Store Configurations, Multi-Warehousing, Multi-Currency, Multi-Lingual and so much more.

    ERP Integration

    Cloudfy comes out-of-the-box with pre-built ERP integrations so launching your connected ecommerce webstore is just a simple, routine configuration task. This turn-key dynamic expedites your time-to-launch and keeps your setup and maintenance costs way down.

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