Per Supply Chain Quarterly, a company's supply chain strategy should be centered around four key areas:
- The demands and challenges of the marketplace
- The company's competitiveness
- Its internal supply chain processes
- The connections between its distribution process and business goals
It's important for companies to conduct a periodic review of this strategy to ensure that it's effective. Automated data collection can help businesses better understand current and past challenges and make smarter decisions about the future.
Supply Chain Quarterly explained that it is important to understand each of the four areas involved in the strategy to understand all of the factors at play. First, know the industry framework and how suppliers, customers, technologies and economics influence the marketplace. As part of this, a company should be aware of demand for their product as well as its lifecycle. In addition, they need to understand what their particular product delivers that is superior to other competitive items on the market.
Two other key considerations are aligning business and supply chain goals and improving internal supply chain systems. The first consideration is crucial so that decision-making is consistent across operations, explained the news source. The second consideration involves evaluating all steps throughout the supply chain to identify areas that could be made more efficient. Data collection can help with these efforts, as information about supply chain processes can be analyzed to uncover specific issues.
DC Velocity recommended that companies that want to better understand their internal supply chain, and how improvements could be made, should "be the package" by tracing the path the product follows from the beginning to the end of distribution. This will provide a greater level of insight into supply chain processes.
"Act like you're the product," Timothy Sroka, senior manager-lean operations for Menlo Worldwide Logistics, said in an interview with DC Velocity. "If you're being delivered and they unload you to a staging lane, that should prompt you to ask why you're in staging when you're supposed to go directly to putaway. If somebody comes by and 'verifies' you, that's a non-value-added activity."