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Recommended Reading: Communication Mitigates Supply Chain Disruption

Let channel partners know well in advance about changes to business systems.

Many disruptions that occur across the supply chain are unavoidable, but one that manufacturers, distributors and customers can mitigate is a change to a business system such as ERP, according to Kevin Boyle, president of Industrial Distribution Consulting LLC, in Preventing Predictable Disruptions.

By discussing such changes in advance, channel partners can make sure that everyone is prepared for the changes upgrades or changes present.

“Manufacturers cause disruption in the channel all the time because they configure new business systems, they change the way they manage their order entry, and they don’t tell their distributors early enough,” Boyle says.

If channel partners aren't warned about a new business system soon enough, the process of entering and shipping orders could crumble and the manufacturer-distributor relationship can become strained, says Matt Onofrio, president and COO of GT Midwest, Wichita, KS.

“Anything you can think of that can possibly go wrong, goes wrong,” Onofrio says. “Some of them can go a day or two or three without making outbound shipments, and then invoices are late and invoices are wrong, and all of the supporting paperwork that we’re used to getting that we need with the product gets lost. It’s unbelievable.”

Manufacturers can mitigate this disruption by communicating any change in an ERP system to the distributor ahead of time, and if they want to be truly proactive they can establish a distributor advisory council that can prepare the manufacturer for issues that will invariably rise during this transition.

Read more about how this disruption can snarl a supply chain and ways to avoid it in Preventing Predictable Disruptions.

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