By Andrew K. Reese and Sarah Murray
Spring this year brought a faint thaw in the global economic deepfreeze, as little by little slightly less negative data began to trickle out of disparate sectors.
Supply chain executives have been laser-focused over the past year on reining in inventories, driving down costs and otherwise ensuring that their companies sustain the least negative impact from the current downturn. That's understandable: We're all in survival mode. And "saving the enterprise" literally means finding innovative ways to save jobs, save market share, even save the company itself.
However, as the economy starts ticking upward again, enterprises will be turning to their supply chain functions to begin ramping up supply quickly and agilely to meet increased customer demand. "Saving the enterprise," in this case, means that supply chain executives already must be working today to ensure that their business strategies are not focused solely on "short-term survival" but are truly positioning the company for sustained growth moving forward.
The winners in the next lap of the economic race are likely to be those enterprises that have spent the recession putting in place the people, processes, technologies and partnerships necessary to meet the requirement not just of the current downturn but also of the next upswing in the business cycle.
Prepare your supply network for the future by redesigning it today to take into account not only the current economy but also future logistics challenges, such as rising fuel costs and the need to reduce carbon emissions.
(San Jose, CA)
Focus on the "shouldbe cost" of each cost element that makes up the total cost of procurement to expose inefficiencies across the supply chain across multiple functional organizations contributing to cost such as product engineering, procurement, logistics, finance and manufacturing.
Investigate solutions to extend the functionality of manufacturing and warehousing systems to eliminate inefficiencies in manufacturing, supply chain, warehousing, outsourcing, data collection and transaction processing.
ADR North America, LLC
(Ann Arbor, MI)
With travel budgets tight but the need for training as high as ever, leverage e-learning programs that allow staff to improve their competencies and help you fill critical skills gaps.
(San Mateo, CA)
Explore whether a community supply chain management solution can help you synchronize "real" demand with "lean" supply and gain real-time visibility across your trading community.
Look into open source solutions that can reduce upfront capital expense for technology while also reducing risk and remove barriers to scalability.
ATC Logistics & Electronics
(Fort Worth, TX)
If you have complex logistics requirements, including returns management and "Six Sigma"-level standards, consider a 3PL with a track record serving other demanding customers in your industry.
Tackle procure-to-pay automation as a whole, not just discrete parts of the process, in order to gain better visibility into the financial supply chain.
A global supply chain requires tools that provide the visibility into a product's global lifecycle necessary to make decisions in response to continuously changing economic trends.
Blue Sky Technologies
When operational expectations vary outside of company-configured complex event tolerance levels, make sure you have solutions in place to alert, track, trend and analyze the exceptions so that you know exactly where to focus your efforts.
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