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4 key benefits of automating your management of materials

A simpler logistics process gives your organization valuable time and resources to invest in product innovation.

Your supply chain is the engine that drives your business forward, ensuring a timely product journey from concept to delivery. But the efficiency of your supply chain depends on how you manage it. Relying on manual workflows to stay ahead of the competition often leaves your team scrambling to keep up.

Manual processes can only get you so far when your business wants to scale up with faster lead times and fewer bottlenecks. Investing in an automated solution saves your team precious time and money with a more straightforward way to manage materials.

What is materials management?

Materials management controls the flow of parts through the manufacturing process. Companies rely on efficient management to track current materials and place accurate orders. As a result, the right materials are available when needed for production, which helps avoid any unexpected delays.

Effective management starts with sourcing and procurement. Acquiring parts at the right time, cost, and quantity ensures your team always maintains a healthy inventory. However, an excess of supplies can lead to high storage costs. A strong materials management process finds the right balance in your inventory levels, minimizing expenses and preventing future disruptions in production.

An efficient process saves time as well as costs. Precise shipping logistics allow manufacturers to coordinate deliveries to production lines so they can effectively prepare to assemble the product. Maintaining up-to-date shipping information and optimizing routes reduce delays so products can be built and delivered on time.

Why manual materials management is inefficient for electronics manufacturers

Since electronics products often have hundreds or thousands of unique components, manual materials management is a consistent source of disruption for manufacturers. Relying on paper-based processes or outdated documentation makes every step of production more time-consuming. It requires employees to manually input, cross-reference, and verify data from physical documents or obsolete systems. These labor-intensive workflows add operational bottlenecks that hinder a healthy supply chain and growing business.

When there's no automation involved, the time-consuming tasks also add more risk of human error. Even the most diligent workers can make a typo or miscount an item when entering inventory data. A minor mistake in recording part numbers or quantities can lead to incorrect components being ordered, creating costly production delays.

Without accurate inventory information, electronics manufacturers don't have real-time visibility into stock levels and supply chain activities. This leaves organizations ill-prepared to respond swiftly to changing demands or unforeseen disruptions.

4 benefits of automating materials management

The effects of automation aren’t isolated; they compound upon each other to keep your engineering team agile and focused on innovation. Each benefit helps improve all areas of the materials management process so the entire process becomes as efficient as possible. This efficiency saves time and enhances collaboration across teams, enabling faster iterations of product designs and quicker response to market demands.

Simplifies management of materials

Automating materials management makes procurement simple by unifying all inventory-related data for precise tracking of parts deliveries and stock levels. Organizations can define their key components and get instant alerts when supply chain conditions change. 

From there, engineering and procurement teams can generate complete orders in just one click with automated parts lists informed by the product specs. By simplifying the ordering process, manufacturers make sure they have the materials needed to prevent production delays.

That’s what Domatic found when they simplified their ordering process. Cofactr helped them create simple BOM exports that provide availability and supplier information for every component they use. Now, Salient Motion has easy access to inventory data at any time.

Improves efficiency of engineering teams

Unlike manual processes, automation frees engineering and inventory teams from tedious, error-prone tasks like manually entering stock data. Instead, more time and proactive planning can go into product development. 

Automation makes gathering the latest inventory data easier, which helps the engineering and procurement teams stay on the same page. With clear and accurate stock levels, both teams can more effectively communicate any changes in specifications or part availability that may lead to production delays. This keeps engineers focused on development rather than logistics so they can meet project timelines and deliver high-quality products more effectively.

Partnering with Cofactr reduced the time Salient Motion’s engineering team spent on manual inventory tasks. With fewer unnecessary steps, their engineers now keep product development moving without having to worry about their stock levels. Automating their entire process improved their ability to speed up development without affecting quality.

Reduces time to manufacturing

Automated processes streamline manufacturing stages from design to production by cutting out manual inefficiencies that cause delays. Tasks such as data entry, order processing, and inventory tracking are made much faster and more accurate with automation. By eliminating these tasks, organizations can significantly speed up manufacturing.

Faster procurement processes enable faster design iterations, which, in turn, lead to shorter manufacturing lead times. Automated parts orders ensure engineers can quickly get the necessary materials and components for prototyping and testing. As a result, organizations can bring products to market faster and maintain a competitive edge in the industry.

With real-time data from component availability and prices to lead times, PatchRx significantly reduced the time spent on manufacturing by expediting procurement and other manufacturing steps. Cofactr gave them faster access to components, reducing lead times and minimizing production delays.

Gets your product to market faster

Simplifying processes, improving efficiency, and reducing manufacturing time all work together to significantly reduce the time to market. The entire product journey becomes streamlined. 

Less time spent on materials management and manufacturing results in faster production cycles and fewer supply chain disruptions. This allows product deliveries to become more efficient and predictable. And when product deliveries are predictable, you can meet customer demand more effectively and accelerate time-to-market for new products and innovations.

Another Cofactr client, Neros, has seen first-hand how the combined effects of automation make materials management easier. Cofactr helped their team avoid unexpected pitfalls at every stage of development. As a result, Neros accelerated their go-to-market time — from design to shipping to customers — by over a month.

Automate your parts procurement and management with Cofactr

Cofactr’s procurement and materials management solution empowers electronics manufacturers like you to optimize their supply chain.

By unifying procurement, inventory management, and logistics into a single platform, Cofactr removes the complexity of managing your materials. Automated processes simplify part sourcing for faster acquisition, while up-to-date insights help balance stock levels to avoid shortages and excess inventory.

With Cofactr, you can reduce costly delays and drive growth that separates you from competitors. Learn more and get started with Cofactr today!

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