Fran O'Sullivan, general manager of systems, strategy and operations, argues the importance of having a sound strategy in place, to guide companies in their pursuit of excellence. But it's equally important to measure the success of that effort, she says.
Making the case for supply chain is both an art and a science, says Michael Dominy, vice president and chief of research with Gartner. He explains how supply-chain executives can communicate the message both up and down the organizational structure, and handle the sometimes-touchy issue of change management.
Analyst Insight: Omnichannel commerce is the new "normal" for retail. And it's a tall order for most companies to achieve. You'll need an omnichannel road map that incorporates where you've come from and where you need to be based on your customers' expectations and your business strategy. – Joe Dunlap, Senior Director, Supply Chain Strategy, Fortna Inc.
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
Analyst Insight: Companies spent over $400bn on external management consultants in 2013 with a majority on strategy development and implementation. This figure shows companies struggle to develop and retain strategy as a skill in the talent toolbox. As a pioneer of process engineering and continuous improvement, supply chain has already proven to be an organization that can break complex problems down into simple, repeatable steps. It's now our turn to do the same with strategy. – Matt Davis, SVP Research at SCM World
Across almost all sectors and regions, companies face unprecedented disruption. The competitive advantages that once gave companies a defensible position - their product lineup, scale or legacy position - are no longer as secure as they were. Some upstart with a newer and more agile operating model will start taking market share - if it hasn't already.
Analyst Insight: Buckle your seat belts. Supply chain planning, a mature and stagnant technology market, is changing. This change will not be gradual; instead, it is the redefinition of planning platforms. The value proposition is large; but not as large as the change management hurdles. To prepare, we have to learn, unlearn and prepare to relearn a new language and way of thinking. - Lora Cecere, CEO and Founder, Supply Chain Insights
The hospital supply chain is becoming more strategic and taking a more prominent role in guiding decisions that weigh clinical outcomes against the costs of medical supplies, devices and prescription drugs. But it still has a long way to go.