Leveraging the Supply Chain for Competitive Advantage

A survey of consumer healthcare decision-makers shows opportunities for manufacturers to gain competitive advantage by focusing on some key points in their supply chains.


Forecast Accuracy

Archstone Consulting believes that improved forecast accuracy is meaningless without an effective sales and operations planning (S&OP) process to ensure that manufacturers have the right product in the right place at the right time. Manufacturers that have coupled accurate forecasting with an effective S&OP process saw improved supply chain metrics such as fill rates, order cycle time, turns and working capital in effect, they were able to take it to the bank.

Other Notable Findings

No participant scored advanced across any part of Archstone Consulting's maturity model. While many of the participants are doing creative things with regard to their supply chains, there is still opportunity to improve.

In general, survey respondents excelled in areas where supply chain management was measured and held accountable. Areas that were not deemed important by executive management tended to have poorer performance; unfortunately, for some survey respondents, this lack of focus included customer touching and service metrics.

About the Author:

James Ilaria is a director in Archstone Consulting's Consumer Packaged Goods practice. He has more than 18 years of experience helping global firms drive shareholder value as both a management consultant and as an internal strategy executive. Ilaria has worked extensively with consumer product and retail companies in the areas of strategy, benchmarking and operations improvement.

Ilaria recently authored Accelerating E-Collaboration: Avoid Simple, Easy Wrong Answers in the Winter-2003 issue of GMA Forum. The article addressed barriers to data synchronization and the adoption of UCCnet for consumer product manufacturers and retailers. He has also authored supply chain articles for use at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Ilaria can be reached at jilaria@archstoneconsulting.com or (203) 940-8235.

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