The manufacturing world is moving at a rapid pace. With top-notch devices, services, and innovative technologies, business owners strive hard to outpace the competition.
Supply chain management is an important aspect of manufacturing which includes every action from purchase to production and distribution. It aims to meet supply with demand.
The process of supply chain management includes suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and customers. From planning the strategies to sourcing contracts, managing quality checks to optimizing the work, supply chain management encompasses a variety of activities.
The major challenges of supply chain management are with short-term availability, cost, and assuring the continued flow of goods and services. Following are more in-depth assessments –
Outsourcing. Outsourcing has two major areas of concern. The first is the availability and reliability of deliveries. The latter one has to do with the TCO (total cost of ownership) of goods received.
Demand management. Managers spend a huge chunk of time trying to forecast demand.
Risk management. Risk management is quite a popular term, when we talk about supply chain concerns.
IT compatibility, security, and privacy. IT holds both hope and apprehension for supply chain managers.
Trust. Do you trust your customers? Do you trust your suppliers? These questions haunt supply chain managers. Coordinating, cooperating and collaborating are the three foundation stones to “Trusts”.
Knowledge corridor. Learning never stops! Transforming the business data into a critical piece of information and then transforming it into tactic and explicit knowledge for the company’s employees is a must.
Sustainability. Classifications such as the triple bottom line, cradle to grave, and cradle to cradle are ideas generating momentum.
Services. Would you buy a TV if there were no service and repair available?
Supply chain complexity. From the behavior of unexpected customer demand and complex adaptive system etc., there are so many complexities which should be simplified by the supply chain professionals.
Ethics. Ethical behavior is desirable by one and all and hence is considered an important responsibility after finance and environment.
A manufacturing company is wholly and solely dependent on supply chain management. Whether it is about managing the speed and efficiency of the operations or optimizing it to the fullest, supply chain managers ensure a huge gamut of tasks.
I believe the top three fundamental challenges that need to be addressed as a company’s supply chain strategy, are –
- Rate of supply chain planning
- Resource management in a global organization
- Real-time transformation of data into competitive insight
Similar to the game of chess, supply chain planning is being assaulted by disruptive forces on every layer. These forces include better forecasts, more collaboration, increasing volume of alert messages, more difficult trade-off decisions, increasing cross-functional integration, product lifecycle management pressures, and the need to be increasingly more flexible. Supply chain strategic implication encourages supply chain planning to avoid disruptions and speed up the operations.
The average number of time zones involved in a typical supply chain project is more than one. With multiple collaboration tools available nowadays, it doesn’t take long to know the inequities such as opportunities for advancement, mentoring, training, career development and organizational exposure.
Added to this HR mix are the unique work perspectives of supply chain professionals. The supply chain strategic implication tends to manage a global supply chain human resource capital to encourage the growth of businesses and individuals.
The supply chain strategic implication tends to help users speed up their work from assembling a report to acting on data-driven insight–real time.
Moreover, developments in supply chains are influenced by what customers need and want, including reduced costs higher and verifiable quality reduced lead times reduced process variability increased flexibility and agility reduced risk to consumers responsiveness to consumer needs and wants assimilation of new technologies.
How to address supply chain challenges?
The only constant in the supply chain is transformation. With the rapid evolution of technology and unexpected demographics shift, manufacturers should learn to update their way of doing business to meet the customers’ expectations. This could mean adjusting your factory operations to incorporate the latest advances, working with your suppliers to ethically and sustainably source your materials, or experimenting with new distribution methods to save on transportation costs. Every day, there will be a new challenge to overcome.