This seems like déjà-vue all over again! Only a handful of working days into the New Year and I am hearing the same old complaints about the economy and business in general being poor. Of course this is true and does not look like changing any time soon. However, there is one new recurring theme which popped up at various parties and gatherings over the holidays; “my company seems to do nothing different and just hopes business will improve”. Not going to happen, no way! Certainly learning by your mistakes is a powerful message but banging your head against a brick wall for what is approaching 4 years is a rather pointless and painful experience.
Those companies that identify failings and shortcomings in their supply chain AND do something about them will be best prepared when we exist recession. Exit we will but I have no idea when
I published a list of potential supply chain resolutions a year ago. I know some people did pause for thought and then take decisive action and it is no coincidence they now have growing businesses. Growth in the current global economy? Yes!
Based on client feedback and analysis of “before and after” performance I list the same resolutions in order of short term impact on operational quality. If you have limited resources then choose from the top of the list.
- Route To Market – Has the march of the International Key Accounts stalled? Distributors may still be a large chunk of your business and they are capable of growth if you help them. Give your RTM a thorough service and your Distributors will serve you better.
- Sales & Operational Planning - If this is in place great, but there is no doubt you could improve it. If there is no S&OP you should try it! If you are not yet a believer of S&OP, try “What has S&OP ever done for us?".
- Reduced Stocks – the start of the year is a great time to remove that old stock. Why not give your sales a boost with some unexpected and low cost support using stock that will be otherwise written off? I detect numerous companies have “encouraged” stocks into the trade for year end and only the residual stock disposal operations will benefit.
- SKU Complexity – Did you study your complexity in 2011? Do you have any idea what complexity is doing to your business? Understand your sku complexity and check if it appropriate for your business.
- Improved Customer Service – A number of major global companies still do not measure CS to any degree of accuracy. Companies that fool themselves on Customer Service rarely succeed.
- Proactive 3PLP’s – Are they meeting the agreed KPI’s? If they are then perhaps you need to review them and revise them upwards, again and again.
- Sales & Marketing Buy-in – This is still a problem, I fear. If only everyone in your company was aligned to the same plan and 100% mutually supportive. Think what sort of competitive edge that could provide.
- Use the ERP - Avoid spreadsheets like the plague! They undermine your business and waste time and effort. If you are considering a fresh implementation of an ERP then chose a partner with experience in the field. I mean real operational experience and not bought-in fresh out of university “experts”.
- Continuously Improve – If you are in the same position in 12 months time then you will be dropping towards the back of the pack and will be ill equipped to ride the crest of the post recession rally. Keep innovating and improving your Supply Chain.
- Supply Chain Awareness – I was not sure where to place this resolution but I leave it as a very important number 10. There is more to supply chain than trucks and sheds - Supply Chain is all about.
Check out the top 5 and then find an expert partner to lead you through the process of change for good. Don’t be in the same position this time next year; do something.