As volatility continues into 2021, logistics managers may be juggling multiple systems to keep up with purchase orders. And when supply chains are strained, it leaves items, quantities, and cargo-ready dates open to exceptions. Without total visibility, managing purchase orders in today’s climate can be laborious and costly.
To solve these challenges, Flexport is launching Order Management. Now, companies can manage purchase orders in real time from the Flexport platform—realizing time and cost savings and generating greater efficiencies across the supply chain.
Flexport’s customer feedback revealed a clear opportunity to help businesses find momentum for 2021. By marrying purchase order control with a company’s data in the Flexport platform, logistics managers can streamline their entire supply chain.
“Flexport OM works to simplify life for both Globe [Electric] and our suppliers,” said Jason Starr, Director of Operations at Globe Electric, a Flexport OM pilot client. “With this new innovative technology, we are now able to have visibility in our supply chain even before the cargo is booked. The best part of this new feature is Flexport built this not only for their customers, but with their customers....”
By responding to common pain points in purchase order workflows, intuitive new features make it easier to plan, collaborate, analyze, and optimize:
1) Messaging lets customers communicate with suppliers and other stakeholders at the purchase order level. Conversations are saved and follow bookings for quick reference when needed.
2) PO and SKU-level visibility shows exactly what goods are contained within any shipment. This level of visibility supports rapid decision-making at all stages of the shipment lifecycle. Companies can now sell goods in transit and reorder more quickly.
3) Configurable rules improve booking workflows. These features were at the top of Flexport customers’ wish lists. Date management helps ensure orders are booked on time. Booking approvals allow consignees to maintain order accuracy. If rules aren’t followed, bookings are flagged for approval before they ship. Automatic email and in-app alerts support thorough exception management.
4) Enhanced reporting supports multiple ways to slice PO, SKU, and shipment data for a comprehensive view of the supply chain. By assembling data points that are too time-consuming to track manually, customers can measure vendor performance against internal KPIs.
Over time, customers develop a robust purchase order library, enabling fast duplication of recurring orders or an easy reference point for new inventory decisions.
With supplier messaging integrated into PO workflows, logistics managers can eliminate labor-intensive emails and spreadsheets. Miscommunications, like those stemming from outdated email attachments, are reduced when all stakeholders have a single source of truth—even after the order is booked and becomes part of a shipment.
Exception management becomes easier, because orders reflect real-time availability. As a result, buyers can feel confident about directing suppliers to make changes based on unexpected or last-minute circumstances.
Says Starr, “Real time conversation with our suppliers overseas, and being able to manage by exception, gives us the power of information to make timely and informed decisions.”
When an exception occurs or a supplier messages for another reason, notifications appear in the platform or, if desired, push to email. Customers can then respond, allowing communication and collaboration to happen in real time. Replies appear inline under specific POs.
PO data can help foster efficiencies or cost savings by informing other areas of the supply chain, too. Order data populates product libraries, which can contain customs categorizations for different regions. Combined with new vendor performance reports, supply chain directors can adjust sourcing, based on a variety of factors.
Flexport customers can reach out to their account manager to learn more about Order Management. Or, discover how to take advantage of Flexport’s platform for more powerful logistics management.
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