Cloud file storage and management is critical for the efficient functioning of our lives, both personally and professionally. When we think about efficient file management, Dropbox, Notion, and similar systems come to mind. While great, none of these apps are built for complex supply chains’ file management needs.
A smart file management system should be core functionality for supply chain systems and platforms. Below are the nuances and needs of supply chain users from their file management systems.
1) Auto file name creation
Because of the variety, volume, and upload frequency of files across stages of the supply chain, a consistent naming convention provides the foundation for a smart file management system. System generated identifiers can be used to apply a scalable naming convention and support a growing database of files. This is often a configuration item, so customers have some flexibility to the auto-generated file names’ system and tags applied.
2) Mass upload and mass edit of files
Because of the sheer volume of files exchanged across participants across every stage of the supply chain, users need the ability to not just mass upload but also to mass action edits across multiple files at a time. For example, users may want to link multiple files to a single style as reference for a vendor or rename multiple files at the same time.
3) Unlimited storage
Smart file management systems need to be on the cloud and over time across multiple public clouds. Unlimited storage has become table stakes for supply chain software subscriptions, given the need to store videos, audio, and heavier files and the need to perform search and analytics actions on the content in these files. The underlying data platform needs to support scalable storage and scalable data processing.
4) Auto mapping of the file name to appropriate style/PO/stage
With unlimited files building up over periods of time, supply chain platforms need to be engineered to support basic intelligence that auto matches files to the right style/purchase order and stage in the process based on the system generated unique identifier in the file name and the content in the files. This saves users hours of manual upload time and eases effort when performing search actions.
5) Search file name and file content
With (1) through (4) done right, search and archival actions become joys to perform. Search functions should now retrieve the right set of files not just based on file names but also based on the content across the varied types of files.
6) Populate forms and digital assets off primary identifiers in files’ content
I have often spoken about the criticality of connected data sets in my other blogs. The data that is linked comes not just from digital assets like purchase orders and design specifications created in the application but also from the content of files uploaded and maintained. If the varied types of files are tagged with appropriate naming identifiers, and the files’ content can be extracted and read, then correspondingly the data across these files can be linked. Hence when a cost sheet, purchase order, invoice or any other digital asset is created it automatically reads and is populated with data extracted from external files uploaded.
7) Extract data from files for actionable analytics
Furthering on (6), once data from files can be extracted and read, it can be stored in databases post-cleansing. Such structured and unstructured data becomes the foundation for strong analytics and source of actionable insights for users.