There are many other acronyms for the different issues that are included under this umbrella. For purposes of this discussion I will simply include them under the SCAR heading for simplicity.
As surprising as it may sound, the majority of companies are still using an offline system based on email to handle SCAR. This may be surprising considering the amount of regulations issued for FDA, ISO and other Global Regulatory bodies.
If your organization is still managing Supplier Corrective Action Reporting (SCAR) using email it is most likely taking twice as long as necessary.
The time required to administer an email based system will be a soft cost that can be a challenge to measure. If you want to gauge the amount of time that can be wasted on just one issue, just follow the email trail. Now multiply that by the number of issues in progress.
The basic problem with email is that it doesn’t follow a predefined path or flow.
Just look at the email issue in the current US Presidential campaign and it will be clear how things can get out of control.
In my experience, if I want to hear a lot of complaining from procurement professionals, I simply have to ask about SCAR.
If you could design a centralized system that would capture and track all of the activity on SCAR what features would you want to have?
Here is my short wish list:
- All email communications would be housed in a central repository and database
- All fields and data would be includable in any report and searchable using true wildcard search
- Required fields to be completed by company staff can vary depending on the type of issue (I like to refer to this as right-sizing the amount of information required)
- Backup materials can be attached with one click including multiple items in folders or zip files
- Related documents can be scanned if received via regular mail or overnight delivery
- Suppliers receive notification using standard emails or custom emails with open tracking to insure they have been received and read
- Suppliers can log in and complete their responses using predefined forms to simply the process including tracking and reporting
- Suppliers are notified if their response has been accepted at the time of entry
- Entries with issues have pop-up help so suppliers can deal with the most common issues
- Custom reporting can be easily created in multiple formats
- Report formats are automatically saved for future use or modification
- Each staff member can create their own custom reports
- Reports can be automatically delivered to your multiple inboxes at intervals you define
- Advanced report filtering and search capability quickly finds even obscure data (or information that may have been misspelled or abbreviated)
Just imagine how much easier tracking and follow-up would be if your system had all of those features.
With all of the data in one place and searchable the benefit is obvious.
Customized and automated reporting will make management of SCAR a lot easier.
If this isn’t a great example of turning lemons into lemonade, I don’t know what is.
I realize that automation can be fantastic, however the human side of the relationship with your suppliers has to be maintained.
A simple phone call allows both parties to understand that there is an issue that needs to be resolved.
Advance warning of an issue can go a long way to keeping the relationship positive. No one wants to be blind sided.
Action Step: Procurement can provide dramatic results with the right process and tools. If you are uncertain where to start a procurement professional like myself can provide guidance and expertise to help your organization achieve the results you need. If you want to go explore this topic in greater detail, please contact me.
EC Sourcing Group is one of the companies I represent because their tools have been created by dedicated and experienced sourcing professionals. They know the day-to-day challenges your team faces and have built their tools to solve them. If you want to know how, I invite you torequest a demo or 30-minute discovery conversation so you can experience the platform, process, people, and tools. You can reach me at (973) 718-7071 x875. The call will be forwarded to my mobile phone if I am not in my office which is pretty likely.
Next week I will continue on this same theme so your organization can improve your bottom line.
If you would like to know more ways to reduce costs without changing the way you do business, simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact information and the best time to reach you.
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Until Next Time, I Wish You Great Success in Your Business and in Your Life