An efficient supply chain is one of the most crucial predictors of a company's success. The supply chain affects almost every marker for industry leadership, including costs, delivery performance and overall customer satisfaction. It's understandable then that the majority of supply chain executives consider visibility to be the most important aspect of any supply chain solution.
Analyst Insight: Supply chain efficiencies and dynamics are tested daily by the heightened need for companies to meet a growing set of demands. As efficiency and consumer demand converge, visibility grows in importance and can only be brought about through collaboration. What makes visibility and collaboration between stakeholders possible is a common language of standards that can enable supply chain participants to understand and act on information with agility and precision. Industries achieve remarkable progress together. – Siobhan O'Bara, Senior Vice President of Industry Engagement, GS1 US
Analyst Insight: Optimization. It sounds simple enough, but when was the last time you thoroughly reviewed your supply chain, and more specifically, the transportation network and associated cost structure for complete optimization? Optimization has many spokes, yet the goal is to improve service and reduce costs. For many companies this awareness is event-driven, occurring only when something negatively impacts the supply chain such as congestion at ports or anywhere along the transportation network, supplier issues, or an imbalance in inventory. – John Haber, President & CEO, Spend Management Experts
Recently, McDonald's, the world's iconic largest food service provider, has been (forgive the cliché) through the grinder. Poor performance has led to the departure of its CEO and plenty of critical attention in the business pages. Part of this story relates to the provenance, or origins, of its products: Chains that provide more upmarket "fast casual" dining such as Panera, Chipotle, and Shake Shack have brands that speak of freshness, health and trustworthy sourcing.
Innovation of the Year: Disruptive technology products must get to market faster than ever, and a product innovation center at Flextronics reconfigures the supply chain to do just that.
Runner-up: Sears Holdings Corp.
Finalists: Intel, Fast Logistics, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council
Supply chains are becoming more complex in order to support the increasingly diverse levels sizes and needs of new suppliers and customers. There are so many variables that can go into a single sale, like selling across multiple channels, delivering products directly versus delivering through drop shipments, and selling items with one-time charges as well as recurring fees. This transformation is having a tremendous impact on organizations of all shapes and sizes. As supply chain complexity builds, it's important that companies aren't spending more time entering and managing data rather than focusing on growing their business. They should have a well-integrated, audited and secure system that can be precisely reported on at every level.
From banners to jerseys, flags to face paint, the World Cup illustrated just how important a brand is for firing up fans. As brands come to mean more to everyday consumers, so, too, do the processes – from procurement to distribution – needed to fulfill a brand’s promise.
Supply chain visibility is a requirement for any organization competing in today's global marketplace. The top strategy for organizations looking to improve visibility into their supply chains is to implement technologies that enable effective monitoring of not just tier one suppliers but tier two and tier three suppliers. New technologies enable real-time collaboration between an organization and its suppliers by providing a mechanism for sharing information about inventory and processes throughout the supply chain. – Andrea Stroud, Research Program Manager, APQC
Analyst Insight: In July 2013, Mary Driscoll of APQC had an interesting headline in the Harvard Business Review Blog — "Why are Companies Continually Getting Blind-sided by Risk?" Their risk management survey highlighted that 75 percent of respondents stated they were hit by at least one major supply chain disruption over the past two years. Another key finding: people at the front lines of business were hamstrung by lack of resources for visibility needed to adequately assess their supply chain risk. – Gregory L. Schlegel, Founder, The Supply Chain Risk Management Consortium, and Adjunct Professor, Supply Chain Risk Management, Lehigh University
Ideally, the goal of the information supply chain is end-to-end visibility. Without adequate end-to-end visibility, including all internal and external tiers, the globally connected supply chain is doomed to suffer the consequences of volatility - and in many cases, experience amplified consequences. Unfortunately, most companies still struggle with information disconnects and black holes.