Identify where systems constrain the supply chain design capability and optimise accordingly.
As supply chain design becomes more global they have increased in complexity and uncertainty. Competitive pressures have pressed companies into slimming their own organisations, focusing more on supply chain value as well as putting pressure on suppliers to increase service standards. As a result supply chain professionals are under increasing pressure to deliver more from less. Lean supply chain design and optimisation has been the preferred philosophy, eliminating waste and delivering lower costs and higher efficiencies.
Continuous step-wise improvements in supply chain efficiency deliver those bottom-line benefits every year but each successive step is harder and more expensive to deliver. Businesses and markets continue to develop and with this evolutionary improvement process, it becomes harder to track the business needs. Business IT systems that have been essential to delivering operational efficiency now can become too rigid and restrictive. However more recently as market uncertainties grow and the visibility of real demand declines, supply chain professionals have recognised the need to shift from lean towards agile supply chains. And now the most recent philosophy is to seek to optimise the decoupling point, where product push meets market demand, in a hybrid strategy.
At this time the next step is to take a more holistic and fundamental look at the supply chain and consider a more revolutionary approach. An external and objective analysis of the supply chain will usually identify that the individual components of the supply chain are not correctly positioned and aligned. It can identify where systems constrain the supply chain capability. It can also allow the assessment of future scenarios to ensure that the business is both flexible and resilient to external changes but can also support internal change from business growth and investment.