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Five steps to optimising your supply chain

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Organisations and consumers currently co-exist in a landscape where the customer is truly king. Consumers' bargaining power and demands are exponentially growing, and businesses are seeking to adapt their supply chains to maintain a competitive edge.

New technology is allowing organisations to make their supply chains more efficient, creating exceptional customer service environments with faster delivery times, minimising costs, improving customer satisfaction, stimulating profit margins and allowing better inventory visibility.

Having an optimised supply chain will also streamline internal operations with organisations gaining more intuitive overviews of their operations. Not only are they better able to make informed and instant decisions, companies now have a clearer understanding of daily operations, and are able to make improvements to identified issues.

A study by The Boston Consulting Group shows that the leaders in digital supply chain management are enjoying increases in product availability of up to 10%, more than 25% faster response times to changes in market demand, and 30% better realisation of working-capital reductions, on average, than the laggards.  It's clear that the time to act is now in order to create a competitive advantage.

Below are five critical steps to ensuring supply chain optimisation:

1.       Review the supply chain business process mapping (BPM), and identify involved businesses. Then determine who is responsible and define success.

2.       Regularly audit supply chain processes to critically assess gaps. Managers are then able to identify improvements and opportunities to streamline operational efficiencies.

3.       Ensure real-time visibility across the business channels
for all systems, particularly around inventory, merchandising and fulfillment requirements.

4.       Review the integration of different technology platforms. With a large pool of best-of-breed solutions entering the market, it's important to identify or foresee gaps.

5.       Focus on the big picture and make responsible strategic decisions and investments. Business intelligence and analytics are
no longer a luxury, and the reality is, all levels of the business require insight to make informed decisions.

A great example of a business that has found a market opportunity and improved its customer expectation through an end-to-end technology solution is Vic's Premium Quality Meat (Vic's Meat). The company opened a new state of the art production facility in 2015 and sought a cutting edge online ordering system to match a next-generation approach to preparing, packing and dispatching products to customers. Vic's Meat is known as one of Australia's leading butchers, it wholesales to many high profile hotels and restaurants around the country, and has two flagship retail outlets - Victor Churchill in Queen Street Woollahra and its newest offering at the Sydney Fish Markets, Vic's Meat Market.

The system was designed to enhance customer satisfaction with a quick and efficient ordering process that was seamlessly integrated with its operational supply chain. Chefs were able to place orders on their devices up until 2am on any day, and expect their orders to arrive by 8am.The company has experienced a substantial improvement to customer satisfaction, order accuracy and enhanced productivity due to its integrated end-to-end solution.

Vic's Meat is only one example of an Australian business using technology to drive leading operations in its specialised sector. Every supply chain focused business needs to take this path, working with technology partners to help them hone in, scrutinise current operations, and identify ways of truly innovating the customer experience.

Chad Gates

Chad Gates

Chad Gates is the Managing Director for ERP vendor Pronto Software. @ChadinaBox

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