For product managers, commodity managers and engineers in supply chain businesses — aka manufacturers and suppliers — optimizing internal business processes is critical to keeping costs down. Employees in these high impact roles shouldn’t be bogged down by simple yet time-consuming tasks, like sending large files between departments and suppliers. Yet the responsibility for these tasks often falls to them.

Some of the biggest difficulties in global supply chain management are being handled by logistics employees, when they should actually be handled by IT. According to this SlideShare presentation, there are 3 specific difficulties that logistics employees face:

  • Minimizing internal costs
  • Minimize uncertainty
  • Deal with remaining uncertainty
supply chain file management manufacturing suppliers

Source. How Information Is Passed In The Supply Chain.

In the supply chain, IT can help key logistics players by removing these obstacles from their day. One way to do this is to improve the method by which employees transfer files.

Think about the types of files typically sent in logistics — 3D CAD models, PDF specs or even basic spreadsheets — these files are difficult enough to create, they shouldn’t be difficult to send. But trying to send these large files through email or other means can take precious time out of their workday. As well, who knows who has access to these email files on the other end?

For instance, an engineer shouldn’t have to dig through an unwieldily email chain trying to find the original version of product specs. A purchasing officer shouldn’t need to wonder if the sales person at a potential supplier saw their changes to a contract sent through email. Neither should have to worry about sending large files or that their sensitive files are being opened by individuals that shouldn’t have access.

If IT can improve the sending of large files and also provide transparency for compliance where necessary, then that’s a best case scenario for both IT and logistics staff.

FTP and 3rd Party Cloud Isn’t the Answer

IT’s most common answer to these problems is to implement a simple file sharing provider or FTP solution. Unfortunately, neither of these “solutions” provide an answer to those 3 original difficulties. Key stakeholders don’t want to use a clunky third party tool to send files, nor should they have to worry about critical intellectual property being accessed by a business whose entire staff shares FTP login credentials.

An All-In-One Solution For Supply Chain File Management

Both IT and logistics need a tool that solves these issues and shortens the time it takes logistics teams to do their jobs every day. A simple, all-in-one solution would be great, but most understaffed and underfunded IT departments don’t have time to build a custom tool.

This is where complete supply chain file management platform like SmartFile comes in. By improving the way files are not only exchanged but accessed and secured, SmartFile gives companies in the supply chain a smarter way to do business. The platform improves file governance, management and access.

Even better, access points and integration options give logistics teams a turnkey solution; no need to teach an entirely new way of handling files. When it comes to accessing files, let employees do it the way they want, whether it’s with SmartFile’s desktop connector, webDAV connections or our Outlook integration. Make sending files native to users to ensure they use it. If they’re used to a custom home grown solution, SmartFile’s API endpoints allow for easy integration.

Don’t worry, we didn’t completely forget about FTP clients. They can access SmartFile as well, allowing for massive file uploads (in fact, we don’t put a cap on file sizes — have at it).

Finally, you won’t have to deal with someone else’s branding cluttering up your file transferring. The SmartFile client portal uses your own branding. Whether on mobile, tablet or desktop, your branding is throughout.

All that access sounds great, right? But we know that too much access can lead to security concerns. We address this issue by creating a balancing act between access and compliance. Audit logs capture all activity and are stored with filtering capabilities to identify security concerns early. When it comes to management, users can distribute shared file links, which can be  deleted, password protected and or even given an expiration date. External users can get a username and password for extra tracking.

If you’re ready to take supply chain file management off the plate of your logistics employees and add enhanced governance, management and access control to your files, start a SmartFile free trial!

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About Curtis Peterson

I'm the Digital Marketing Manager for SmartFile who loves content, email marketing and web analytics. As a child, I built awesome websites with animated starry night backgrounds and multi-colored font headers on AngelFire and GeoCities.

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