Amanpreet Singh traces his supply-chain career to obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in India. Coming to the U.S., he earned a Masters in operations and marketing, then held positions with i2 Technologies and PRTM before assuming his current job with Motorola Mobility, running operations for companion products.
Throughout his years in supply-chain management, Singh has seen companies grapple with several “pain points,” both at the customer and supplier end. They’ve had particular difficulty achieving visibility of second- and third-tier suppliers. Meanwhile, as the lifecycles of high-tech products grow increasingly brief, manufacturers are finding it more difficult to meet ever-shifting customer demand.
“Product introductions and end-of-life become very difficult challenges,” Singh says. “If products do not take off, you have a tremendous problem.”
Just getting accurate and timely sell-through data from retailers used to be a problem for manufacturers. That dilemma has been replaced by the need to know in advance exactly what the end user is going to buy. The “big unknown” today revolves around the proper pricing of a given product. Beyond that, suppliers need to foresee the next big trend that will make a particular device a hit with customers.
Yet another challenge is the need to keep pace with those ever-evolving products, from the standpoint of aligning manufacturing, finance, marketing, sales and supply chain. “They all need to walk in lockstep motion toward common objectives and metrics,” says Singh.
How can that goal be accomplished? Outsourcing can help, although buyers and sellers must learn how to function with maximum efficiency, exchanging data on a real-time basis and knowing at all times what the other partner is going to do.
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain planning, supply chain risk management, inventory management, logistics management, sourcing solutions, global logistics, retail supply chain