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The Importance of Supply Chain Visibility in Medical Equipment Technology: Driving value and growth through stringent information management.
The transparency of accurate product-related information throughout an organization’s supply chain is a critical success factor in any industry, enabling seamless end-to-end processes and providing the foundation for the agile decision-making that is so essential in today’s volatile business environment.
The consequences of inadequate Supply Chain Visibility can be severe. As well as being the root cause for high costs and wasted resources, failings in this critical capability can create errors across the whole supply chain, related applications and business processes and give rise to serious regulatory compliance risks.
Supply Chain Visibility has an especially crucial role to play in the Medical Equipment Technology (MET) industry, enhancing patient safety and reducing compliance risks by maintaining historical tracking of device changes, delivering current and correct compliance data, and providing accurate and timely information on pre- and post-market approvals throughout the supply chain.
MET companies now have an opportunity to win vital competitive edge by applying the proven benefits of Supply Chain Visibility to their own operations. Learn more about Medical Equipment Technology for Electronics and High Tech
As shown by the experience of companies in other industry sectors, Supply Chain Visibility can deliver a range of benefits for Medical Equipment Technology (MET) companies. These range from cost savings and faster growth to a reduction of risks around trade compliance. Perhaps the most significant benefit of all, however, is in the area of regulatory compliance, where MET companies face very specific challenges.
Accenture’s approach to Supply Chain Visibility is grounded in our view that superior Supply Chain Visibility capabilities are a key driver of high performance. In Accenture’s experience, the management and transparency of product-related information along the supply chain is fundamental to the success of businesses in all industry sectors. This is especially true for companies in the MET industry, which is characterized by a high level of competition, intensifying cost and price pressures, and extensive regulation.
We understand that Supply Chain Visibility permeates the whole enterprise – and directly or indirectly impacts most processes throughout the organization. Whereas most other providers focus solely on managing order information, associated dashboards and reports, or on master data management and one-time data quality improvement or MDM applications, our understanding and holistic approach covers all of these areas. Efficient Supply Chain Visibility needs to address product-related information flows across all four dimensions of information management – Organization & People, Processes, Technology and Data. Supply Chain Visibility brings three key benefits for MET companies: cost savings, faster growth, and enhanced regulatory compliance.
At Accenture, we understand that Supply Chain Visibility is a concept that permeates an entire organization and its ecosystem (suppliers, customers and authorities). Achieving best-in-class Supply Chain Visibility means addressing the aforementioned four dimensions and represents a journey rather than a short, one-off initiative with a distinct endpoint. Therefore, Accenture’s approach for helping companies to develop these best-in-class capabilities is to team with our clients throughout the duration of this journey. We bring a deep understanding of the industry into each phase of this journey and provide a robust set of established methodologies and templates to help achieve targeted results.
Our overall approach divides the Supply Chain Visibility project approach into three distinct phases, with benefits being realized at each stage of the journey. The Basic Implementation stage varies greatly depending on the company’s situation at the beginning of the journey. Typically, to achieve a basic Supply Chain Visibility capability, the following target states must be reached in all four dimensions: Organization of People, Processes, Data and Technology.
Companies need to implement processes that address the supply chain end-to-end (including global trade management processes). They also need to focus on underlying capabilities such as master data management. Particularly where product master data is concerned, a key focus should be master data definition, structure and quality. A clear definition of product and material master data also provides the foundation for higher quality transactional data, with initial harmonization and data cleansing being used to achieve a basic data quality. Although our experience shows that technology needs to follow instead of lead within the four dimensions, its importance should not be downplayed. Companies that optimize the IT landscape and ensure availability of the right applications and tools can build more efficient processes and higher reliability through automation – both key enablers for seamless end-to-end processes and Supply Chain Visibility.
In a globalized business environment, where supply chains span business entities, their suppliers and customers in multiple countries worldwide, Supply Chain Visibility is a key imperative for business success.
To keep their extended global operations running smoothly, multinationals in many industry sectors are leveraging Supply Chain Visibility to manage complexity throughout what are often distributed and fragmented business ecosystems. According to Accenture’s ongoing High Performance Business research program, which examines characteristics of high-performance businesses, leading organizations in all industries are particularly adept at managing product-related information flows along the whole supply chain by addressing all four dimensions of Organization and People, Processes, Technology and Data.
Until now, Medical Equipment Technology (MET) companies have been slow to harness the benefits of Supply Chain Visibility for their own operations. However, in a market characterized by intense competition, strong cost and price pressures and extensive regulation, MET companies need to manufacture their products better, faster and cheaper than their competitors, while simultaneously complying more effectively with regulations. And without in-depth transparency across their supply chains, this is all but impossible.
This is why MET businesses seeking to achieve high performance are starting to invest in the Supply Chain Visibility capabilities that will drive operational effectiveness, as well as improving management of regulatory compliance and ensuring that critical compliance information is available throughout the supply chain.
July 18, 2012
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