The globalization of business has impacted all aspects of an enterprise—and for its supply chain, the increased complexity brings significantly greater supply chain risk. Today, global organizations source material from suppliers across continents and must manage supply and demand, to effectively deliver products, on time, to partners all over the world. If you look at just one leg of a supply chain, the depth can be startling, with multiple echelons of sub-contractors and outsourced manufacturers. No wonder the top sources of supply chain risk are supply chain complexity, demand volatility and managing procurement. In our experience, this complexity has radically changed how companies must look at supply chain management and sales and operations planning (S&OP).
How do leading companies manage supply chain risk?
To start with, they are proactive. More than half of the leaders make supply chain risk management a strategic imperative. They set up a central risk management function with focused responsibility led by a CXO or VP to ensure the supply chain function is a growth enabler, not just a function expected to cut costs or run efficiently. And, they build capabilities with processes and technology solutions. The focus is on end-to-end supply chain visibility, analytics and predictability. Best practice supply chain models are unique to every company; however, we find some industry-specific similarities:
- Retailers tend to prefer a model that improves collaboration and communication.
- Consumer goods companies believe closer customer relationship management practices and more accurate demand forecasts are critical components.
- Chemical companies require pre-worked plans to improve reaction time.
- High-tech and consumer goods companies are engaging cross-functional teams that include sales, marketing and operations to design entry and growth strategies.
Not surprisingly, the best practice for a company must be tailored to its business, suppliers, partners and customers. We do see three primary initiatives that guide most successful supply chain risk mitigation programs across industries:
- Deploy a flexible and agile supply chain—in close collaboration with partners— to react quickly to changes. (There will always be unforeseen changes.)
- Centralize your supply chain organization and technology to ensure global data transparency and decision-making control.
- Establish formalized response plans to be ready to analyze and best respond to unexpected circumstances as they arise. Robust analytics enable teams to simulate scenarios and recommend next steps that will best benefit the business.
The common set of tools being used is a combination of sales and operations planning processes and robust technology support. Interestingly, the boundaries between S&OP, product lifecycle management and financial planning processes are fast disappearing. These leaders recognize the importance of gaining greater visibility and predictability across their supply chains. The result is an obvious investment in advanced decision-making solutions on top of their business solution platforms. For more insight on this, read TCS’ recent white paper: The Agile Supply Chain: Driving and Supporting Agility through Sales and Operations Planning.
Converting your Supply Chain to a Value Chain
TCS and Oracle share a commitment to designing best-in-class solutions that enable leading companies to manage supply chain risk, and convert their supply chain into a value chain. TCS was a proud Platinum sponsor of Oracle’s Value Chain Summit, which will feature the latest innovations across supply chain planning, execution, procurement, product lifecycle management, manufacturing and maintenance.
Given the broad scope of supply chain, TCS’ business consultants, industry specialists and Oracle experts will be at the show to discuss all of these topics, as well as next-generation solutions that will accelerate business integration and transformation and how emerging trends, like the Internet of Things, can bring new opportunities to your business.
We were especially proud to keynote this year’s event in a session: Virtually planned, physically fulfilled: A unique cost optimized supply planning solution. Randy Mandel, Vice President, Inventory Management and Supply Chain Strategy from McGraw Hill Education presented alongside Vidya Sagar, from TCS’ Transformation Practice. In addition to this session, TCS customers participated in panel discussions to share their real world experiences working with us to leverage Oracle Value Chain Planning to develop profitable operating plans, speed and improve decision-making and effectively manage supply chain risk. Let us know if you’d like to schedule a time to discuss all of the new ideas shared at the event.