Achieving excellence in business management and performance has always been a challenging task. But over the last decade it has also become more complex. Globalization; the web; mergers and acquisitions; legislation; and a business’ own striving for growth with more products, more markets, and more ways to serve customers have created ever more complex channels. Plus, the increased number of interactions, transactions, and information within each relationship: well, that’s complicated!
The sheer scale and size of the data that is used to manage all these moving parts is, of course, the key driver of system implementation. (You can’t manage it with an abacus or a spread sheet.) In the last few years, technology has enabled the assimilation of this tremendous volume and complexity of data and process integration to create a relevant user experience, so that organizations can be masters of their complex world.
Nowhere more does that complexity challenge the business than in Supply Chain Management. The expanding presence of the extended enterprise has created a growing role for Supply Chain Managers.
Supply Chain Managers are chartered with a complex and interlocking set of responsibilities: Predicting market behaviors, Demand Planning, and New Product Introductions (NPIs), both at the factory and into the distribution channel; Sourcing – creating a differentiating, dependable, low-cost, well-performing supplier network that is competitive and meets administrative and corporate standards as well as customer values; Production – managing in-house or outsourced manufacturing consistently and cost effectively, while meeting multiple customers’ unique mandates and expectations; Logistics – getting the right product to the right place, at the right time, at the right cost; Managing risk – assuring that high quality products are being produced from a reliable supply network.
While the supply chain team is managing all these elements, it needs to constantly strive to make the supply chain more resilient. The supply chain has to be very responsive to market conditions to be more competitive, use less working capital, and have the reserve to respond to an upside market opportunity.