The supply chain is a company's biggest asset and profit driver under optimum conditions or, if dysfunctional, its biggest nightmare. A Supply Management story took a hard look at vacuum and pump manufacturer, Edwards, to see how they revamped their supply chain and data collection procedures to keep up with customer demands.
Executives Must Take Responsibility
The Supply Management article took executives to task for not taking responsibility for the supply chain and urged them to create a list of protocols that will foster team collaboration and consistency. This, said the report, can foster increased communication within the supply chain team and allow them greater clarity. That, in turn, will bring greater consistency to the work environment.
Strategic Understanding, Alignment And Integration
Keeping the communication open along the chain is critical. Knowing the requirements of service for such performance variables as reliability, speed and flexibility can keep things running at an optimum pace. Having a template of all the workflow job descriptions and of what services the supply chain is slated to deliver is vital to ongoing smooth operations, noted the story. Making sure everyone knows every step of the chain is another area that companies want to have in place. Without these common sense protocols in place, said the article, disaster could be lurking just around the corner. Transforming the supply chain can eliminate breaks, streamline efficiency and positively strengthen the company's bottom line.
Demand Forecasting Can Be A Big Help
A Business Standard report showed that, thanks to global competition, demand isn't a lock for any business. If companies wish to grow and continue to be successful, they need to be able to decipher current trends with a market forecast. Even though there have been major advances in forecasting for the supply chain, the report said that many companies simply don't include demand uncertainty into production plans, and managers need to identify variables at the firm level which cause variations in the forecast. If they can get the variables to dovetail with the forecasts, said Business Standard, the uncertainty of the forecasts will be less dangerous or discernible.
Transforming the supply chain is a daunting task and one rife with potential problems. Supply chain leaders and upper management need to be on the same page to ensure that the service side continues to grow and profitability remains a constant even during downturns and tough times.