Managing a supply chain might not be glamorous, but your business depends on it. Here are recommendations by top supply chain management experts on how to make things run more smoothly and efficiently.
Whether you are looking for help in choosing the right supply chain management solution or advice on how to make your supply chain work more efficiently, the following tips, from supply chain management experts and managers, can help.
Throw away your spreadsheets. Too many enterprises still "plan their purchasing using slow and unreliable spreadsheets," said Jason Averill, executive vice president at Avercast. To make sure you are using the most up-to-date, accurate information, "move up to an affordable supply chain platform."
Select a supply chain solution that is tailored for your industry. "There are hundreds of off-the-shelf supply chain software packages or component modules on the market today, and most implementations end up requiring some level of customization and integration with other systems," said John Freund, CEO of JumpTech. "Do your homework and start your research with systems that were designed for companies in your industry, or that are similar to yours in some key aspect. Odds are your project will end up in the 'better, cheaper, faster' category that way, and you'll likely get a number of handy system features you won't get if you venture too far afield from your space."
Establish metrics. "Despite decades of encouragement and hundreds of millions of dollars dumped into information technology, most companies still don't have their supply chain metrics under control," said Joe Francis, executive director of Supply Chain Council. "Enterprise-wide balanced scorecards, cascading supply chain metrics and management dashboards can provide timely insights that help supply chain managers react to disruptions — and opportunities — in today's volatile markets." Francis recommends starting with metrics that can be benchmarked internally and externally, such as cash-to-cash cycle time, return on working capital, perfect order fulfillment and agility indicators.
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