Only a few months into the year and I am hearing the same old complaints about the economy and business being in general ill health. However, there is a new recurring theme which popped up at various parties and gatherings over Easter; “my company doesn't seem to do anything 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 a number years is a rather pointless and painful experience and reflects dire leadership. Those companies that identify failings and shortcomings in their supply chain AND do something about them will be best prepared to beat the competition.
Based on client feedback and impact analysis of “before and after” performance I list our top 10 tips to tip top Supply Chain performance.
- Route To Market – Has the march of the International Key Accounts stalled? Traditional Trade Distributors may still be a large chunk of your business and they are capable of scratching out growth but only if you support them. Give your RTM a thorough service and your Distributors will serve you better.
- Sales & Operational Planning - If this is in place and working well, great but there is no doubt you could improve it. If there is no S&OP you should use it! If you are not yet a believer of S&OP check out “What has S&OP ever done for us?".
- Reduced Inventory – 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 “encouraged” stock into the trade for year end and only the residual stock disposal companies will benefit if stock gets too close to expiry.
- SKU Complexity – When did you last study your complexity? 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 or honesty. 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 targets 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 volume/value plan and 100% mutually supportive. Think what sort of competitive edge that would provide.
- Use the ERP - Avoid uncontrolled 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, suited “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 compete. Keep innovating and improving your Supply Chain.
- Supply Chain Awareness – A very important tip top number 10. There is more to supply chain than trucks and sheds - for the uninitiated this is what Supply Chain is all about.
Check out the top 5 as a priority and then seek an expert partner to lead you through the process of change in the next 5. Don’t be in the same position this time next year; do something!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net