supply chain moves center stage

Budgeting, Planning & Forecasting

- 2 min read

Supply Chain moves center stage

Previously when I have explained that I work in Supply Chain to friends and family, it was often followed with, but what is Supply Chain? However, that question has gone away in recent months, as Supply Chain takes premium space on the news – encompassing many different forms and stories, such as:

  • the coordination and planning required to get vaccines to the correct location at the right time
  • inventory planning and Supply Chain design, as sourcing has changed through regional lockdown
  • the best place to source materials from as the cost of containers from South East Asia has sky-rocketed in the last few months
  • hearing about Supply Chain being the cause of delayed deliveries as driver shortages cause gaps in on-shelf availability. 

Whatever today’s business story, Supply Chain is present somewhere, and I find myself no longer needing to explain. Instead, I move into solution mode, describing what I do that makes a difference. Then we start to see some of the changes in the Supply Chain environment that are now affecting everyone. 

Just consider the following: the product mix changed as people moved from drinking in pubs to home drinking to a blended different uncertain future mix. With the accelerated growth of online shopping, many brands and businesses’ subsequent movement to delivering directly to the consumer, leading to business to consumer deliveries from distribution centers rather than through retail stores. We have all also been impacted by delivery failures; this reliability has been affected by distribution capability running beyond capacity with limited access to a more flexible workforce, routing alternatives, or inventory buffers.   

Where is this leading? A need for greater visibility within the business to allocate inventory on time within the capacity of the transportation capability; extending to the end-to-end visibility to ensure better, faster, more granular, and more synchronized data, to enable reliable decisions at speed, with prescriptive analytics to resolve challenges before they happen. 

With the globalized competition and increasing demand, the pricing of materials such as silicon chips affects future availability, and significantly fluctuating global container rates impact profitability and consequent availability as procurement looks for cheaper alternative sources. So, plans now need to be more responsive and flexible while still attempting to remain profitable. These rapidly changing plans require intelligent financial insight into supply chains and supply chain plans, not easy when things are moving at speed. 

That is why I am so passionate about Supply Chain, as it truly makes a difference every day. The topics I will be covering in future blogs will demonstrate the need for an effective Decision-Making Platform through which data visibility can be improved, and informed decisions can precisely be achieved through end-to-end integration. 

Watch this space for more things on this topic as Supply Chain excellence becomes the center of the story. 

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