As Alan Waller says “The supply chain lies no longer with an individual company; we have global networks cutting across countries and organizations. The only way to achieve this is to get players working to a common agenda-the collaboration agenda. We have been taught to compete: nobody has taught us to work together. The need and awareness is there but still nobody is taught how to do it.” It would seem a possibility that supply chain development may falter because of the prevalent way of management thinking. Therefore there is a real challenge to learn anew and, in so doing, to change. Learning and changing are indelibly connected; you cannot have one without the other.
Many companies start into SCM, by working only with the closest suppliers and customers. They should however, first ensure, that all of their internal operations and activities are ‘integrated, coordinated and controlled’. Nevertheless the full benefits of SCM will only come when there is an examination of all costs/service levels together with all the players. This will result in reduced lead times and improved total costs/service for all parties in the network. This means going beyond the first tier of suppliers and looking also at the supplier’s supplier and so on.
The format of inventory is raw material, sub-assemblies or finished goods. This is often held at multiple places in the supply chain and is controlled in theory by many different players who are usually, working independently of each other. This results in too much inventory being held throughout the supply chain. So the format of inventory and where it is held is of common interest to all supply chain players and must be jointly investigated and examined.
The customer is the reason for the business; so continually working to serve the customer better is critical. The customer is the business, after all. But who is the customer? The traditional view is perhaps the one that has placed the order/pays the supplier’s invoice; but by seeing the next person/process/operation in the chain as the customer, this means that there are many supplier/customer relations in a single supply chain. If all of these single relationships were being viewed as supplier/ customer relationships, then the whole would be very different.
Many researchers have suggested that the key to the seamless supply chain is making available undistorted and up-to-date information at every node within the supply chain. Asprova disseminates quality and reliable information throughout the chain for integrated thinking and effective planning. So clients are increasingly dependent on the benefits brought about by Asprova’s advanced planning and scheduling functions to: improve supply chain agility, reduce cycle time, achieve higher efficiency and deliver products to customers in a timely manner.
Photo credit: © Nick Saltmarsh