The instability in customer demand and rapid fluctuations in the prices of raw materials, fuel and other commodities have put supply chain executives under constant pressure to establish a more efficient SCM. The basic idea was to develop a more customer-centric supply chain strategy that could devise innovative ways to reduce costs and enable growth. Furthermore, the advent of smartphones and advanced analytics into the marketplace, has created an exponentially growing consumer base and provided customers easy access to goods and information. This made it the need of the hour for supply chain professionals to respond to what was quickly becoming an outside-in, demand-driven world.
An efficient supply chain strategy coupled with a well-defined action plan and the right tools is what supply chain professionals require to alleviate fulfillment pressures and prepare managers for market changes in the future. We reveal to you some tips and tricks that can help companies to formulate a better supply chain strategy to improve operations:
Adopt a demand-driven planning and business operating model
This supply chain strategy requires the right prediction and contingency planning tools to provide a complete view and an effective response to various business risks such as suppliers going out of business, political upheaval, and natural calamities affecting manufacturing. Companies can then make necessary alterations to pricing and promotions strategies to shape demand, drive revenue growth, move additional product quickly, or further expand margins for a high-demand product with limited market supply. The key here is to have the foresight to leverage opportunities and mitigate challenging events coming in the way of the business. Today, with the development of cloud SCM technologies, companies can accurately see where all of their inventory is—in real time—from the store shelf back to the manufacturer.
Build an adaptive and agile supply chain with rapid planning and integrated execution
Once SCM executives better understand and shape demand and risk, they will be able to adapt their supply chain strategy to the changing market opportunities and events. It is essential for companies to deploy dynamic planning capabilities and rapidly fine-tune operations to ensure responsive agility to meet the fluctuating demand. Companies can gain better visibility; enhanced collaboration across the value chain, and accelerated decision-making with better supply chain strategy and analytics.
Optimize product designs and product management for supply, manufacturing, and sustainability
To differentiate themselves from the competition, it becomes crucial for businesses to have an innovative supply chain strategy. The decisions made in the early stages of product development can make or break the product. Therefore, product designs must be optimized for supply, manufacturability, and supply chain operations. An essential step in establishing a good supply chain strategy is to ensure a seamless and transparent collaboration processes across the end-to-end supply chain—from demand, the market, and customers back to manufacturing and suppliers.
Align your supply chain with business goals
While creating a supply chain strategy, it is a requisite to determine if they are in line with the business goals of the company. Though sales and operations planning processes provide coordination among sales, manufacturing, and distribution, there still are disconnects and gaps among finance, strategy, and operations in many organizations. One way to bridge these gaps is with integrated business planning that involves people, process, and technology elements of the business. This process integrates financial, strategic budgeting and forecasting systems with operations planning and allows smart trade-off decisions to be made for the company. Adoption of advanced technologies such as cloud computing provides real-time visibility to all the critical dimensions of success—demand, supply, product, risk, and performance—across the organization and throughout the extended supply chain.