The goal of supply chain planning is to create value, but the way it does that depends on the strategy of the company, says Gianluigi "Gigi" Mason, director of supply chain planning at Barilla. Some businesses are focused on service levels while others make low cost a priority, he says. "A successful supply chain planning organization creates value while supporting whatever strategy the company follows."
At Barilla, the supply chain is active, expanded and integrated, Mason says. "By active, I mean that supply chain planning needs to have an active role in the organization," so that it is not brought in only after other decisions already have been made - decisions that impact such factors as constraints, batch size, lead times and agreement with suppliers and customers, he says. "Supply chain planning should contribute to designing such aspects of the business in order to better support the company in the successful implementation of its strategy."
By an expanded role, Mason says, he means that supply chain planning should extend across the company and beyond the four walls. "Supply chain planning should be a wide set of competencies embracing several activities across the enterprise," he says. "This starts with the operation and coordination of demand, production and distribution planning, but I believe it should also include the development and assignment of KPIs [key performance indicators] and the design of processes, since generally the planning system is very process oriented and needs a very specialized approach."
At Barilla, "our approach to the supply chain is not just limited to your own internal processes, but includes the processes that happen all across the extended supply chain, from our suppliers to our customers," he says. When you demonstrate to customers and suppliers that you can deliver promised results, "then you are able to engage them in projects of supply chain collaboration and improvement, like collaborative forecasting, vendor managed inventory and many more activities that optimize the processes you share with them."
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