Executive Briefings

'Know Sooner, Act Faster': A Supply-Chain Mantra

C.J. Wehlage, vice president of high-tech solutions with Kinaxis, details industry's major supply-chain management challenges - in particular, the difficulty of obtaining full visibility of supply and demand, and dealing with the volatility of markets.

"Know sooner, act faster" is the mantra offered by Wehlage as a key strategy for dealing with growing market volatility. "I run into clients who don't know as much as they think they do," he says. "It's about responsiveness, and how much you know about your supply chain."

In seeking upstream visibility, many companies don't look beyond their first-tier suppliers. As a result, crises often devolve into "firefighting," rather than being averted through proper oversight of all suppliers, third-party logistics providers and even the retail store.

It's tough to put a value on the prevention of a crisis that never happens. Still, says Wehlage, that necessary level of responsiveness "is the core of supply chain." It's the key to how managers can influence the reporting structure within their organizations. Being able to make informed decisions, and acting on them, provides executives with a level of power that isn't reachable through traditional methods.

Responsiveness isn't just a tool for managing supply-chain execution; it also bears a strategic element. Decisions can be driven at the C-level, rather than occurring exclusively in the trenches.

A key competency that many companies are missing today is leadership. "There has to be somebody asking the end-to-end questions," says Wehlage. "What's my profitability across this?"

Yet another key element of modern-day supply-chain management is obtaining the right talent. It used to be sufficient for employees to possess functional expertise. Now, "end-to-end skills are critical."

To view the video in its entirety, click here

Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain planning, supply chain risk management, inventory management, logistics management, sourcing solutions, global logistics, supply chain jobs

"Know sooner, act faster" is the mantra offered by Wehlage as a key strategy for dealing with growing market volatility. "I run into clients who don't know as much as they think they do," he says. "It's about responsiveness, and how much you know about your supply chain."

In seeking upstream visibility, many companies don't look beyond their first-tier suppliers. As a result, crises often devolve into "firefighting," rather than being averted through proper oversight of all suppliers, third-party logistics providers and even the retail store.

It's tough to put a value on the prevention of a crisis that never happens. Still, says Wehlage, that necessary level of responsiveness "is the core of supply chain." It's the key to how managers can influence the reporting structure within their organizations. Being able to make informed decisions, and acting on them, provides executives with a level of power that isn't reachable through traditional methods.

Responsiveness isn't just a tool for managing supply-chain execution; it also bears a strategic element. Decisions can be driven at the C-level, rather than occurring exclusively in the trenches.

A key competency that many companies are missing today is leadership. "There has to be somebody asking the end-to-end questions," says Wehlage. "What's my profitability across this?"

Yet another key element of modern-day supply-chain management is obtaining the right talent. It used to be sufficient for employees to possess functional expertise. Now, "end-to-end skills are critical."

To view the video in its entirety, click here

Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain planning, supply chain risk management, inventory management, logistics management, sourcing solutions, global logistics, supply chain jobs