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What makes a supply chain great? It almost seems impossible to achieve greatness in this Amazon era. All industries are being challenged by consumer expectations, reduction of time and costs, more routes to market, international complexities, and other factors throughout the supply chain network.
Much of your ability to take control of your supply chain is not trying to tackle each and every demand being placed on you simultaneously. What happens with this approach is you keep doing things the way things have always been done. Using the same processes, tools and tactics. Guess what? You are going to continually get the same results. Perhaps those results are good, but if you want to transform from good to great then there is a ton of power in taking a moment to get a true understanding of your supply chain operations.
Eric Allais, president and CEO of PathGuide Technologies, Inc., said, “A great supply chain brings predictable, on-time performance, at the lowest cost.” This statement naturally leads one to ask, “How do you do it?” Indeed, we all want the recipe for the “secret sauce.”
At Tecsys, we’re passionate about helping companies discover their greatness. If you are on the journey of trying to achieve operational greatness in your supply chain, here are three essential ingredients you need to have.
Ingredient: Have a clear and consistent supply chain business strategy. Your supply chain leadership must have a clearly enforced definition of success in order to reach the long-term goals of the supply chain organization. Clarity of strategy and a strong definition of excellence drives reliability and consistency within the supply chain. Your strategy will help you develop business objectives, productivity plans and allocate resources properly. The best supply chain strategies are the ones that align with the corporate organization. Remember that once you have the strategy it needs to be communicated to the organization thoroughly and repeatedly.
Ingredient: Create horizontal processes within your infrastructure. This is a struggle for many organizations as it’s very easy for people to focus on their own area and lose sight of the big picture. You must breakdown operational barriers and connect workflows between departments to ensure critical information and activities do not fall between the cracks. Consider mapping department and supply chain workflows so that you can see the processes you have and track events as they flow. By harmonizing cross-departmental process you gain a greater outlook of your end-to-end operations. Use this knowledge and analytics to effectively resolve issues more rapidly and eliminate cross-functional roadblocks.
Ingredient: Implement technology solutions that fit your business. Implementation of technology, done right the first time, with a well-qualified partner selected for the long term will undoubtedly save you both time and money. You need a technology partner that can grow with you, supporting a shared business plan that clearly spells out how growth can be accomplished through shared measures. The solution you select should not only enhance your supply chain planning and network design, but enable you to build scalability and elasticity into your operations. Additionally, technology can provide you with effective monitoring systems to help understand when your network is becoming over-capacity in order to eliminate potential holdups and conflicts.
By incorporating these three essential ingredients into a supply chain transformation plan, you are one step closer to achieving predictable, on time performance, at the lowest cost — not to mention greatness.