Part 1

Click on the metal-producing-processingto download article

Article from: Metal Producing & Processing | September 1, 2003 | Brody, Daniel | COPYRIGHT 2008 Penton Media, Inc

metal-producing-processingThe goal of a supply-chain system--or any information system--is to make certain that the right people get the right data at the right time, though that doesn't always happen the way it should.

Metal service centers are make-to-order businesses where time is critical. Often, the staff scrambles to track customer orders, and sometimes employees get bogged down trying to figure out the status of a customer's order. And, sometimes purchase orders that should have been canceled are not canceled fast enough, resulting in inaccurate inventory counts and excess inventory. All of these factors lead to higher supply costs, and signal the need for change.

Information visibility is key to optimizing a supply chain. This means that all partners along the supply chain have the same access to the...

Part 2

Article from: Metal Producing & Processing | November 1, 2003 | Brody, Daniel |COPYRIGHT 2008 Penton Media, Inc

metal-producing-processingMetal service centers are beginning to recognize how supply-chain management tools can help them achieve "inventory visibility," for their own use and as a service to customers. Inventory visibility can alert planners when inventory falls below a certain levels, and provide options for dealing with the problem. It can look at many constraints in the supply chain and offer suggestions for resolving these. The system can be configured to reschedule orders so that high-priority customers are not adversely affected by problems.

As such tools become more widespread the pressure from customers and shareholders to deliver such value will grow.

But, it's catch-up time for metals service centers. They must recognize the trend toward inventory visibility in spite of the organizational limits and resistance. Consumer goods suppliers are further along with inventory visibility systems, which will pressure basic materials companies to join the effort. …