Slimming Down to a One-hour Enterprise

Committing your company to supply chain execution is a good habit that will help keep customers, grow profits and make it more agile.


Beefing Up the Customer Experience

As the economy recovers and manufacturers hope for increased demand, it's just as important to remember that supply chain execution impacts the customer's experience. When I went shopping online to replace my 10-year-old Lexus, I found just what I was looking for on the car maker's Web site: a LS430 with ecru interior and cutting-edge GPS technology.

But when I went to my dealer, I was told it would be impossible to get what I wanted.

So I went to Audi. I found a nice car and the features I wanted were available, but it would take a few weeks to get it, and the GPS technology was primitive. So I ended up buying a Lexus on the lot. I had to pay for features I didn't need or want, but I got the GPS technology and I didn't have to wait.

Without a commitment to supply chain execution, companies like Lexus and Audi lose customers: Lexus will lose those seeking fast execution — in other words, availability of styling and features in a car advertised now. Audi will lose customers seeking innovation — that cutting-edge technology worth having at any price — even though it can deliver a car more quickly.

Manufacturers must resolve to slim down their supply chain operations to become agile, one-hour enterprises. Until they do, they will continue to plump up inventory with products that may not have customers, and their profits stand to grow alarmingly thin.

About the Author: Pamela Lopker is founder, chairman and president of QAD Inc., a provider of enterprise software for manufacturers.

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