Most manufacturing processes do not occur in a single location. Instead, each stage of product creation is likely to require a stop in a different state or even country as a product moves from raw materials all the way to appearing on a store shelf.

A cotton blanket, for instance, may begin its formation as cotton bolls in the American south, but then the next phase may take the cotton to Honduras where it is knitted and dyed, then sewn. Finally, the blanket returns to the United States for packaging and housing in a warehouse for online sales.

Each of these stages can hit a snag in the manufacturing process due to a breakdown in communication. When bad weather affects the cotton crop or a delayed shipment from Honduras causes the blankets to be on backorder, the online sales company may have no idea why their shelves sit empty while customers continue to request their soft blankets.

Internal communication: The manufacturing company benefits from internal unified communications, because they are able to collaborate on designs for products, consult on projects in shared workspaces and save resources when it’s time for a team meeting by hosting a video conference. The manufacturing floor supervisor may regard any meeting that takes him off the floor with reluctance, but the ability to collaborate through video conferencing helps ensure that time spent off the floor is productive and doesn’t require travel.

Internal communication helps the order fulfillment team in your organization receive key information from operations on why that cotton blanket shipment isn’t coming into the warehouse on time. Customer service associates are able to provide accurate information on when the customer can expect to receive a backordered blanket.

External communication: The supply chain flows more freely with better communication. The same tools that aid internal communication, such as shared workspaces and video conferencing, can also make various companies along a supply chain better able to serve the end customer. Bad weather may affect the cotton crops in the south, but managers in that phase of the supply chain are able to provide accurate forecasting to the company in Honduras to let them know how timing will be affected.

Particularly as various companies in the supply chain are affected by communication barriers like disparate time zones, unified communications can help. Emails, texts and voice calls are all handled through a single solution, so it’s convenient to view an entire history of the conversation.

To learn more about how unified communications improves the flow of the manufacturing supply chain, contact us at Clarksys.