What will be your focus and key priority areas for your Supply Chain in 2014?
Supply Chain managers can often be caught between a rock and hard place can’t they?
On the one hand they’re expected to continuously drive down costs.
But on the other, they have to support customer service performance that at times can seem about as cost effective as delivering a litre of milk to your doorstep, fresh, every day! Crazy …
Hmm. We actually used to do that, didn’t we!
If you believe the doomsayers, we could be in for a rough ride in 2014 and 2015. I recently attended a webinar with famed futurist and economist Harry S Dent. Along with another 3,000 people!
Harry was proclaiming that the China bubble had burst and demand for our products and materials would fall. And not only that, but our vastly inflated house prices would collapse by 40-50%. Think of the knock on effect of that?
Whilst it’s quite natural to think of worst case scenarios, I tend to fall more into the ‘glass half full’ camp. Sure, be aware of what ‘might’ happen, but plan ahead. And make sure you plan for bad times as well as good times.
So think about your Supply Chain for a moment. What challenges might you be facing in 2014? What will you focus on?
- Cost Reductions. If you are not looking at this, you need to! These days you can’t afford to be standing still. You need to constantly strive to reduce costs. Why? Because your competitors are. It doesn’t matter if they are local or overseas, someone is always looking at more efficient ways to operate, so they can beat you on price in the market place. But…be aware that constant price reductions can be a slippery slope to being out of business.
- Service Improvement. This is a much better way to differentiate your products and services so that you maintain and win market share. I don’t care what industry you operate in, your customers are always looking for ‘value’. This does not always equate to low costs. So do you really understand what your customers value? Are there things that you can do for your customers that they value, that do not add excessive costs to your business?
- Flexibility. I think flexibility is an essential component of all Supply Chains. It’s sometimes very hard these days to know what major changes could hit you. A new competitor with a better product. An acquisition. A divestment. A change in regulations. All of these things are far easier to handle the more flexibility you can have in your Supply Chain. So what assets could you utilise in a more flexible way? What costs could be more variable than fixed? This is where outsourcing can have many advantages.
I’ll be sharing my thoughts at our next free seminar. Thoughts on getting your Supply Chain better aligned and how to cope with any coming challenges.
Check it out here: Supply Chain Strategy Made Simple
What will be your critical areas to focus on in 2014? Why not comment below…