What if I told you that many companies really haven’t defined a supply chain strategy? Would you be incredulous? Don’t be, because it’s true. Many companies have no properly defined supply chain strategy. Of those which do, many more have a strategy that’s less than effective in serving their business.
This leads me nicely to the first thing that a great supply chain strategist—or even just a good one—will never overlook.
Know How Your Business Competes in the Marketplace
A good supply chain strategist will never neglect the need to understand business strategy. The problem with some companies is that they simply assume the supply chain strategy should be directly in line with whatever the business strategy happens to be. This is a falsehood.
A supply chain operation is not merely a function or department that needs to toe the business line. The supply chain strategy should support that of the business, but in a way that makes best use of the supply chain capabilities. Conveniently, this leads us to the second thing that a good supply chain strategist never neglects.
Know What Your Supply Chain is Capable of
A good supply chain strategist makes sure a realistic assessment of the organisation and its extended supply chain is conducted. When your time comes to develop a supply chain strategy, you might consider the following questions in conducting your assessment:
- What are the core competencies of your supply chain?
- Can you dominate the competition by offering a lower-cost service to customers?
- Can you differentiate your supply chain operation from the competition with value-added services?
- Will you need to make investments to support your desired strategy?
Plan the Implementation
Yes, even if your organisation already has a supply chain, applying a strategy or changing an existing one is still an implementation. Therefore it needs an implementation plan. This is the third thing that a great supply chain strategist never neglects.
Collaborate, Cooperate and When it Makes Sense; Outsource
It’s unlikely your supply chain will exist solely within the boundaries of your company. An effective supply chain strategist collaborates with partners to identify and execute mutually beneficial goals.
At the same time, this fourth step in strategy development might include decisions to outsource activities which don’t constitute core supply chain competencies.
Outsourcing can help reduce your overheads and free up valuable resources to execute your new strategy effectively.
Four Little Words: One Great Strategy
It shouldn’t be too difficult to retain these four fundamentals of supply chain strategy development in mind. Just remember to:
- Align (with the business strategy)
- Assess (the capabilities of your supply chain resources)
- Implement (according to a plan) and:
- Collaborate (with partners and perhaps outsourced service providers)
That’s all there is to it …
Well, perhaps there’s a little more. In fact there’s a lot more supply chain strategy information contained in my book, Supply Chain Secrets.
To see more about the wealth of information gleaned from the memory banks of myself and the Logistics bureau team, why not check out the Supply Chain Secrets product page here at Supply Chain Secrets Books?