7. Fix the "shelfware" problem in supply chain software.
Companies have recently invested billions in new supply chain software. Yet, only 20 percent indicate that they can document a solid return on investment, according to CCMI research. Implementation and training programs have been lacking, and overworked IT departments have moved on to new issues. By redoubling efforts to implement and use today's wide range of outstanding supply chain software systems, leaders can deliver substantial value, often without major new expenditures.
8. Take a fresh look at the performance of outsourced service providers.
Nearly everyone uses third-party logistics (3PL) providers in some part of the supply chain; how well they perform has a direct effect on customer satisfaction and supply chain effectiveness. A recent study of international air cargo operations, co-sponsored by CCMI, found substantial variations among providers in service quality and a range of emerging issues that need to be addressed.
9. Apply advanced analytical tools to supply chain planning and execution.
Most companies still can't accurately forecast future requirements, despite the tremendous amount of data now available all along the supply chain. Issues such as expediting, production schedule changes, and inventory write-downs generate ongoing frustration. Leaders should capitalize on data mining and related new analytical tools and methods that better leverage available data to analyze trends, improve forecast accuracy and reduce supply chain inefficiencies.
10. Investigate the role of RFID and related technologies in the supply chain.
As the costs of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), smart tags and related technologies decrease and the capabilities for capturing and transmitting data increase, companies should appraise these technologies for realistic application and deliverable value up and down the supply chain. The Department of Defense proved their value in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Wal-Mart will mandate the use of RFID in some supplier situations — so everyone else needs to pay attention.
CCMI has worked on supply chain projects for such companies as Amgen, Amtrak, General Electric, Kmart, Lucent Technologies, Sara Lee, SkyJet and Zenith Electronics.