While making quality products is extremely important, having a consumer-driven, adaptable supply chain is just as necessary to gain competitive advantage, says David Johnston, senior VP, supply chain and wholesale distribution, with JDA Software, a provider of supply chain management solutions. "Best-in-class companies have long understood that an efficient and flexible, demand-driven supply chain can be a powerful driver of profitable business performance," Johnston observes.
To develop that kind of high-functioning supply chain, Johnston recommends the following best practices:
- Adopt a demand-driven, consumer-centric approach to planning and forecasting.
- Enable your planners to focus less on statistical analysis and more on strategic demand management.
- Collaborate closely in real-time with customers and trading partners.
- Apply performance management technology to gain value from information.
- Integrate vendor-managed inventory programs into your planning processes.