In the wake of the Great Recession, companies have been confronted with the challenge of how to translate a strategic business plan into a tactical plan, for quick response to actual market conditions. But they still need to keep in mind the larger goals of a long-term business strategy, says Banich.
Companies have always attempted to benchmark their performance against the competition, but their efforts have been hampered by a push to limit capital investment and "do more with less," says Banich. "Now they're starting to look out at the future, taking strategic planning to a tactical level."
They're not going back to the old practices, though. Beyond just dealing with the situation of the moment, companies are looking to forecast over longer periods of up to seven years. They're looking for a way to become "proactive instead of reactive."
An important step toward that goal is development of a road map, which lays out supply-chain requirements and their implications for distribution, inventory and transportation. Then, extending that picture out seven years, companies can identify where the gaps in their capabilities are likely to be.
"Looking step by step, year by year, you ensure that every investment and initiative is really moving toward this future state, rather than just focusing on today," Banich says.
Seven years is a long time in the business world, and it can be difficult coming up with an accurate picture of what that kind of future is going to look like. Some companies even attempt 10- to 20-year plans, says Banich.
At the same time, they can't ignore what's happening now. It's vital to ensure that one's supplier base is adequate for meeting current needs. The trick, says Banich, is "making sure you're not hurting today what you're trying to do tomorrow."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain planning, supply chain risk management, inventory management
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