The Lean Supply Chain
New Year, New Strategy?

New Year, New Strategy?

Happy New Year everyone! As many people like to start the New Year out fresh, I thought it might be a good idea to look at current trends to help determine if it’s also a good time to make a fresh start on your company’s Supply Chain strategy.

In “The Chief Supply Chain Officer Report 2014 – Pulse of the Profession” from SCM World, O’Marah, John, et al identified some trends in the Supply Chain Profession as a result of feedback from 1,068 surveys of Supply Chain executives.

Some of the highlights, which you may want to factor into your strategic plans for 2015 and beyond, included:

Disruptive technologies

Big data analytics is the most disruptive technology impacting supply chain strategy – This is at least partially a result of the concern for volatile demand as well as a hope that improved visibility can result from mining huge new data sources.

The digital supply chain – this involves meeting increasingly complex demand requirements with speed and low costs by “shipping” software or other digitized product to the point of consumption (ex: use of mobile phone apps).

The internet - important as a way to know what is happening in the physical supply chain. Potentially useful for demand planning and “remote” control of physical assets.

Most Attractive Markets for Growth

Traditionally successful supply chain strategies will increasingly need to be tuned to serve markets with big potential payback, but new challenges operationally.

Summary of Findings

The survey findings conclude that “Chief executives can no longer afford to delegate strategic understanding of supply chain operations. The connectedness of supply chain capability to margin growth, market entry, product innovation and corporate responsibility now compels CEOs to master at least the broad strokes of what it means to be “agile”, as “growing volatility in customer demand, greater complexity in customer expectations and deeper operational integration throughout value chains.”

In other words, in today’s era, efficiency alone no longer wins by itself. Supply chain executives need to re-focus their sights from cost-cutting and process standardization principles and look to create the Lean, Agile Supply Chain of the future.

So maybe the New Year is a good time to start planning for a change in strategy as well as trying to lose the pounds you gained during the holidays!

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