A recent benchmarking study by SAP identifies exactly what companies must do in their supply chains to maximize profitability and win competitive advantage. The study, co-sponsored by the Americas SAP User Group, looked at 30 consumer products and high-tech original equipment manufacturers. The effort yielded a number of best practices among companies that outperform the marketplace in customer service and order lead times. The winners were able to balance customer service with inventories and cost, according to Kevin Flynn, industry principal for high-tech with SAP Americas. Four specific best practices emerged among the leaders, who were found to have alert-based exception messaging to track and monitor the entire fulfillment process; real-time vendor-managed inventory programs driven by true demand; accelerated transportation planning integrated with supply chain partners, and collaborative planning integrated with promotions. The pay-off was substantial, Flynn says. Leading companies had a 7.6-percent advantage over others in on-time delivery performance (92.4 percent vs. 84.8 percent), and a three-day advantage in make-to-stock lead times (three days versus 11 days).
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