Benefits of a reference model
One of the main advantages of a reference model is that it provides a common language that facilitates communication, specifications, and benchmarking. The FIRM framework was developed to conform to this objective. It can be used in many ways: in a descriptive mode to document the processes and product movements at each site and between sites; in a prescriptive mode to specify the standards and specifications to be used for processes and product movements to maximize shelf life, minimize waste and minimize risks; as a means of enforcing data collection points and the monitoring of key performance indicators along the supply chain.
Computer implementation of FIRM for a particular food chain allows simulation of a recall and trace back. This is a major advantage when studying various configurations and data implementations and is less costly than actual pilots. When coupled with a data collection layer, the metrics can be used in a dashboard to compare planned with actual data, providing the basis for predictive analysis and traceability. d
Amar Ramudhin is the director at the Center for Supply Chain Management and Technology, Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute.