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Managing Brands Through Effective Supply Chain Management

From banners to jerseys, flags to face paint, the World Cup illustrated just how important a brand is for firing up fans. As brands come to mean more to everyday consumers, so, too, do the processes – from procurement to distribution – needed to fulfill a brand’s promise.

Managing Brands Through Effective Supply Chain Management

More than ever, supply chain leaders play a crucial role in supporting and protecting the brands they deliver to customers. Delivering quality and consistency, besides the products themselves, affect brand reputation.

A transparent supply chain that is well equipped to manage disruptions will result in a strong brand and happy customers. Alternatively, a disjointed supply chain that can’t handle unexpected events is more likely to lead to disgruntled customers. A misstep can quickly escalate to crisis in the 24/7 news cycle, leaving a company vulnerable. Damage can fester in the marketplace if you don’t deal with it quickly.

The solution requires integration across the supply chain.

Integrated Planning and Requisite Tools Are Key

Supply chains must rely on integrated planning across their operations to adequately deliver on a brand’s promise. Much like a stellar soccer team, supply chains need to check egos at the door and address the needs of the team over individuals.

The need for collaboration comes at a time when demand planning is a rising priority for supply chains. As omnichannel delivery and other factors influence customers in new ways, understanding demand shift is imperative. Those trends increase pressure on best-in-class companies, according to an Aberdeen Group study: 43 percent identify management of increased demand volatility as a top priority, second only to reducing supply chain operating costs.

Consolidating a company’s division plans to address volatile demand requires strategic planning. And understanding customer demand begins by establishing a firm foundation. Sales and operations planning (S&OP) tools can achieve these objectives and translate needs from procurement to the warehouse. 

For a company to prosper, the most important decisions require knowledge to respond to demand and then deliver accordingly. Companies must foster strong communications among marketing, sales and distribution and use appropriate S&OP tools to prevent low stock or stock-out conditions, as well as incorrect inventory mix or improperly positioned inventory.

Supply chain leaders must then be able to drive outcomes based on dialogue and a unified strategy.

Armed with that knowledge, they can better equip transportation providers to ensure they select the right products and deliver them on time, solidifying the final steps in the supply chain process.

Effective distribution processes include tightly integrated warehouse management software and transportation management software solutions. In order for businesses to be successful, it’s critical to work in sync with demand planning across departments and monitor the different places where data will influence next steps.

Ultimately, decisions at the planning level should inform and, in turn, be reinforced by supply chain activity in the warehouse, with intelligent data and fluidity between systems facilitating these interactions.

Because all of these elements impact customer service and ultimately the brand, their ability to work in harmony is paramount.

Overall, creating visibility means there’s less room for surprise, yet no amount of planning can prevent unanticipated disruptions.

In the supply chain, solid execution in critical moments relies on all components of a well-integrated plan working effectively together. Real-time analytics tools enable better decision-making and adjustments, and a solution that provides visibility from one end of operations to the other is more likely to manage processes successfully.

In soccer and in the supply chain, execution is crucial, even when the next move is unpredictable.

Weltmeister of brand

While missteps are bound to occur, keeping a strong commitment to teamwork and expert execution creates a winning atmosphere in today’s fútbol and business worlds. Building these qualities through integrated planning and other tools is one way that companies can grow their influence and protect their brands in the global marketplace.

Source: IBS

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