Some of the world's best and brightest supply chain executives came together at the 2007 Executive Seminar--Supply Chain Leadership Forum, hosted by the Supply Chain Consortium, recently in Orlando, Florida. The burning question in their minds: How do we make benchmarking and best practices a dynamic, ongoing part of our organizations?
By comparing notes and taking a Consortium survey, they identified the Top 5 "Do's" and "Don'ts" of benchmarking and best practices. The survey gathered information from participants' real-life experiences, including supply chain areas that have achieved performance improvements and benchmarking information that has been used and interpreted by their companies.
The Top 5 Do's:
1. Do align with key stakeholders.
2. Do succinctly summarize benefits for top management.
3. Do reduce your scope to actionable items.
4. Do maintain perspective of both your business and cultural model.
5. Do test multiple options before drawing conclusions.
The Top 5 Don'ts:
1. Don't use competitors that match up poorly with your supply chain processes.
2. Don't ignore your competition.
3. Don't use the "boil the ocean" approach (focus, focus, focus).
4. Don't use benchmarking and data analysis tools without understanding how they work.
5. Don't work in a vacuum and think your organization knows it all.
Consortium members also cited key supply chain areas in which benchmarking and best practices information has helped to improve supply chain performance. For example, here are the supply chain areas and the percentage of survey participants that say they were helped by employing best practices:
Transportation costs (74%)
Distribution costs (70%)
Customer service levels (52%)
Inventory turns (26%)
Capital expenditures (17%)
Company profitability (17%)
Product costs (13%)
Overhead costs (3%)
The 2007 Executive Seminar was attended by 60 top supply chain executives from retail, consumer product, distributor/wholesaler companies and Tompkins Associates, which facilitates the Consortium. During the two-day, high-level event, executives discussed key supply chain issues in facilitated breakout sessions and gained access to the Consortium's benchmarking results. Highlights included hot topics such as freight bidding, peak and temporary labor, and inventory management, along with keynotes on bold leadership and supply chain security.
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