Supply Chain Management Best Practices: Are You Up to Date?

Supply chain management has undergone a rapid evolution over the last 20 years. A truly global supply chain combined with sweeping advances in technology allow today’s manufacturing operations to be optimized in truly exciting ways. But the overall process is also more complex and consequential than ever before. Make sure you are keeping pace with your competitors by keeping up to date with these emerging supply chain best practices:

Aligning Supply with Demand

This has always been the goal of supply chain management, but now thanks to technological advances it is possible to do with a stunning level of precision and accuracy.  By carefully segmenting customers and delivers a well-defined value proposition, companies can reliably forecast demand and ensure that supply matches it without shortages or surpluses. The capabilities of predictive analysis also make it possible to incorporate market forces and organizational goals when developing forecasts.

Synchronizing Supply Chains Dynamically

There are now multiple supply chain strategies – eg. Lean, Responsive, Agile, or Replenishment. The problem is that no single strategy is appropriate for all products or sales cycles. Best practices dictate that supply chain strategies should shift when necessary and run synchronously when possible. With the right tools in place, this kind of flexible and dynamic approach is possible to implement without creating disruption or confusion.

Meeting the Challenges of Globalization

The global supply chain has led to higher revenues, greater options, and lower costs. But it has also led to longer lead times, quality control issues, widespread delays, and abysmal customers service. Top manufacturers make an effort to mitigate the negatives by boosting their tracking capabilities, building transparency into their supply chains, and collaborating with patterns.

Prioritize Risk Management

Supply chains are prone to risk, but the field of  risk management has only recently made its way into supply chain management. Companies are using sophisticated tools to better understand the risks they face and put contingency plans in place. They are also relying on advanced tracking and monitoring tools to learn about issues sooner and devise solutions faster. Risk can never be eliminated from a supply chain, but it can be mitigated and managed effectively.

Forming Collaborative Relationships

Independence and isolation are foreign concepts in the interconnected world of supply chains. Increasingly, supply chain managers are forming partnerships with members of other departments and contacts in other companies in order to devise mutually beneficial solutions.  The benefits of cooperation are obvious, but they are also necessary in today’s data-driven supply chains. Considering how much information is in play, the only way to eliminate unknowns is to remove barriers to access.

The bad news is that if you are not following all of these supply chain management best practices, you are behind the times and likely to suffer consequences as a result. The good news is that getting in line with the times does not require a major investment or a radical change of course.

Supply chain management best practices are facilitated by data-management technologies like supply chain ERP. Once there is a centralized platform for accessing and sharing information, the kinds of issues that create problems with schedules, supplies, and shipments are minimized.

Committing to best practices is only the first step. The next step is to put tools and technologies in place that make it easier to optimize every aspect of the supply chain. The enterprises that invest are setting themselves up to compete in the uncertain and frantic markets of the future. The enterprises that continue to rely on an older approach will find it difficult to impossible to stay relevant.

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