Supply Chain Trends
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Inefficiencies in the supply chain can cost any manufacturer countless thousands of dollars or more per year. With so many “moving parts” in any supply chain, discovering what those inefficiencies are and coming up with practical solutions to solve the problems may seem daunting; nevertheless, doing so is imperative for any manufacturer committed to improving its bottom-line performance.
The key to overcoming supply chain issues, according to one industry expert, is adaptability in an age where volatility is the new norm. “If manufacturers are set up for volatility and to leverage volatility, they’re going to be much more successful,” said Lisa Anderson, President of LMA Consulting on a recent edition of “Manufacturers Corner.” Ms. Anderson works with manufacturers and distributors to help them better manage their supply chains to improve their service levels, cash flows and profitability.
Just how volatile an economic situation is can be affected by any number of outside influences and a company’s readiness to deal with them, so Anderson has compiled a list of what she considers the top supply chain trends to leverage for success. During her “Manufacturers Corner” conversation with host Jeff Allen , she discussed some of those trends noted below.
The Amazon effect – Anderson points out, “Customers have elevated expectations. They truly are expecting we are going to provide Amazon-like service meaning 24-7 availability, quick deliveries, same day deliveries. It’s all becoming the norm so we have to step up our game to meet those challenges.”
Supply chain technology and big data – “How do we put (data) into something we can use to make better management decisions and improve business performance?” Anderson indicated that companies can leverage the use of supply chain technologies which include enterprise resource planning (ERP) programs to help them manage and interpret critical operational data they generate and receive in a useful way.
Re-shoring – On the subject of bringing outsourced jobs back to the U.S., Anderson says, “If there’s any value-added component, it’s going to make good sense to have (a manufacturing facility) that’s located close by, not just for quick deliveries, but also for better control. It’s all about time—you can develop products quicker and be closer to your customers.”
Supply chain risk – “Which risks are most likely to happen and are going to affect their business if they happen.” Anderson continued, “Make the best business decisions figuring those risks in and making sure that you have thought through processes and back-up processes and how you can minimize your risk.”
Sustainability – The question manufacturers are asking themselves is how to create a win-win for the company and the environment. Companies of all sizes in all industries can make important changes, whether it be in package design or decreased resource consumption for example, to allow them to take advantage of these trends to actually improve business performance.
Readers can learn more by reading Lisa Anderson’s recent article, “Leverage Supply Chain Trends for Success,” by clicking here.
“Customers have elevated expectations. They truly are expecting we are going to provide Amazon-like service meaning 24-7 availability, quick deliveries, same day deliveries. It’s all becoming the norm so we have to step up our game to meet those challenges.”
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