How to evolve your supply chain management

The Supply Chain Management

The oversight in a process from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer is called supply chain management. Including materials, information, and finances as they move. It involves coordinating and integrating these flows both within and among companies. The ultimate goal of any effective supply chain management system is to reduce inventory and make sure that products are available when needed. As a solution for successful supply chain management, there are various methods and sophisticated software systems with Web interfaces promising to provide assistance in the process.

Future Challenges

As economy changes, companies face a different set of supply chain challenges. Among them are rising pressure from global competition, consumer expectations, and increasingly complex patterns of customer demand. Two-thirds of the executives expect supply chain risk to increase. After analyzing key underlying supply chain processes and capabilities, including the ability of different functions to collaborate, those executives highlight troubling signs of struggle to increase in the future.

Most supply chains were engineered to manage stable, high-volume production. But in a future when the relative attractiveness of manufacturing locations changes, along with the ability to produce large volumes economically, such standard approaches can leave companies dangerously exposed. Some of the challenges represent supply chain worries, but other turns, such as those associated with the developing world’s rising wealth and the emergence of credible suppliers from these markets, will have supply chain implications for decades to come.

How to evolve_Supply Chain Management_david kiger_
Image courtesy of wistechcolleges at Flickr.com

Prepare to Overcome those Challenges

First you can approach this in two ways: One is to split your traditional supply chains into smaller, nimbler ones better prepared to manage higher levels of complexity. And two, you can treat your supply chains as hedges against uncertainty by reconfiguring the manufacturing footprints to weather a range of potential outcomes. Second, you should analyze these trends and devise a plan for your company’s supply chain management, to be implemented in the near future.

Going Digital

You can achieve a new wave of productivity by digitizing key financial and business processes and enabling collaboration across the organization. This trend will continue to create a digital community of partners executing coordinated processes in a more organized and informed way than in the past.

Service Chains

Companies that effectively couple the pre and post sales service supply chain activities, will emerge as the winners over their solely product centric competitors. This means that service chains will become more important than product chains. For example, a company with repair and warranty practices, trumps product only companies.

Automatic Digital Support

Technology has driven processes inside workshops and factories to the next level, providing automatic support in product making. This technology is going to aid the supply chain management in many ways. One of those is the optimization of the picking up process. When someone selects an item, a display available for the picker, calculates the most efficient path through the warehouse, guides that person to the package, scans it as ‘picked’ into the Warehouse Management System, and immediately directs the picker to the next closest package. Second, you will be able to visualize your next warehouse digitally before even beginning construction. You can model workflows through the facility and test measurements. Not only will it save you money, it will allow you to fully experience what you are planning to do. Third, digital support could replace the need for a physical cargo list and load instructions, by allowing to see loading instructions on a display with step-by-step instructions on how to most efficiently load a container. And finally, windshield displays would allow carriers to efficiently re-route shipments on the fly without causing any significant distraction to the driver. The display would show the driver critical information including cargo temperature, especially important when transporting medical devices or other fragile goods, gasoline efficiency, which changes based on the weight of the truck, and more critical information to optimize the work of the driver. In the near future, artificial intelligence will be embedded in mainstream supply chain activities, so be prepared to use it.

Collaborative Supply Chain

Ensuring supply chain entities to work together in a smarter way, will produce benefits for both parts, and more efficient and effective operations. Benefits could include the sharing of expenses, and with longer collaboration, you know internal processes and have a workflow that minimizes resources spent on administrative or time intensive tasks with the other part. What is more, referrals are the lifeblood of any business, and if trust and collaboration is a part of a business relationship, a supplier can refer you to get more business. And the more you understand the pains and the processes of the client the easier it is to lead towards innovative ways which lead to further hard and soft cost savings.

But preparing for the future does not mean neglecting the processes that are being followed at present. Learn about the importance of sustainable supply chain management in this David Kiger´s Blog Post. You can also find lots of interesting information in Vimeo by following the link.

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