Supply Chain Integration: Challenges and Best Practices

The last decade has brought a dramatic shift in the nature of competitors for the majority of companies. Technological advances, particularly in information technology, coupled with globalization, the increase of intricacy and shrinking time horizons are driving order-of-magnitude changes in the competitive needs on strategic management of business and on the management of supply chains.

These competitive pressures have a strong direct impact on supply chain strategy and integration. Incorporating activities both within and beyond organizational borders has ended up being and will remain to be a major difficulty for supply chain executives. Integration efforts now extend beyond standard product-process design and functional integration to focus on extra-organizational relate to clients and providers. The item is to produce “supply chain-enhanced” products and services..

Our assessment of supply chain integration concentrates on 2 crucial concerns– positioning and linkage– both inside a company and across companies.

1. Positioning describes usual vision, goals, function and goals throughout organizations, functions and procedures in the supply chain. Positioning makes sure that there is consistency in the direction and objectives as these strategies and choices are made.
2. Linkage refers to the communication and sharing of information needed for planning and decision-making, and the communication of people engageded in planning and decision-making. Linkage makes sure that the information essential for decision-making is offered, which various functions and entities in the supply chain are dealing with the exact same data as decisions are made.
3. Supply chain positioning and linkage do not occur in a vacuum. Supply chain management is a part of the broader management of an enterprise, and it must support the broader business strategy of the enterprise.
4. Business Strategy defines how the firm means to contend in the markets or market segments it pursues. Broadly speaking, a company can contend on low cost or with differentiation. Supply chains can contribute substantially to both sets of goals. However, different business techniques are most likely to be best supported by different supply chains and supply chain management choices. A business strategy based upon speed of development and fast time to market would require a different network of suppliers, a different manufacturing facilities and a different circulation facilities than a strategy based upon low costs. It is for that reason vital that the techniques pursued and the choices made by the supply chain group be consistent and lined up with the overall strategy of the enterprise.

Supply Chain Strategy Planning options associate with coordinating supply chain management choices with business strategy, product/service design choices and with developing the physical supply chain. The ideal infrastructure, in terms of technology, individuals, control systems, relationships, policies and procedures are essential in helping with alignment and linkage.

Here are four crucial supply chain strategy areas:

1. Supply Chain Strategy and Vision, which specifies the role supply chain management will have in the organization and in the pursuit of the business strategy.
2. Insourcing/Outsourcing Strategy, which goes to the heart of the company’s value recommendation– what is it that the firm does better than any individual else– to create value for the customer. What is kept and exactly what is outsourced depends upon supply chain strategy and drives supply chain strategy.
3. Supply Chain Division and Architecture, which addresses the design of the supply chain, its physical structure, its information flows, its cash flows and its “theoretical” structure. Supply chain division expands the familiar principle of market segmentation to the consideration of differential supply chains (manufacturing plants, distribution centers, supply bases) to support the various market segments.
4. Product and Service Design, which have to consist of supply chain considerations in product/service design choices. Item designs mostly affect production effectiveness, circulation system requirements and customer support levels. By consisting of supply chain perspectives, product and service designs can be more effective.

Supply Chain Execution Processes include the functional decisions in supply chain management that must then be lined up with the supply chain strategy. The design and execution of these processes determine in large part how supply chains perform. The processes define how the company matches supply with need to provide value to the customer. Included right here are the processes for forecasting and demand management, order promising, operations planning, product planning and supply management. The key issue across these procedures is linkage– facilitating the communication and information sharing needed for making decisions that are consistent and concentrated on meeting customer expectations. The 3 essential supply chain procedures determined in this research are:

1. Supply-facing Processes for Order Satisfaction
2. Sales and Operations Planning (SOP).
3. Customer-facing Procedures for Order Satisfaction.

Supply Chain Enablers are the last secret to the puzzle. These enablers do not by themselves make alignment and linkage happen, however if they are not in place, alignment and linkage will certainly suffer. The enablers recognized by the study are:.

Communications and E-systems, which consist of both the technology offered for collecting and sharing data and information, and the systems in place to help with people-to-people communication in support of decision-making. The systems help ensure data availability, accuracy and timeliness. Similarly essential, however, are the procedures and treatments that encourage and facilitate using that data for efficient decision-making.

Trust, which is at the heart of breaking down the practical and organizational barriers that hamper true integration. Without trust and the determination to work together, it is difficult to accomplish aligned, constant decision-making and actions required for the integrated supply chain.

Organization and People, which structures consist of reporting structures, group membership, and roles and duties and, as such, largely shape the ways individuals will communicate and associate with each other in an enterprise. The wrong organizational structure can leave out crucial stakeholders and key resources from vital decisions and inhibit the collaboration needed to accomplish positioning and linkage. Working within the company structure, the skills and capabilities of people are vital to effectively incorporating a supply chain.

Metrics and reward systems are important factors in driving behavior within an organization and amongst organizations. Despite the “methods” or “viewpoints” around supply chain integration that are voiced by leading management, it is the metrics and rewards to which people react. Customer-centric metrics that are lined up and constant across different functional groups and throughout companies in the supply chain will certainly encourage behavior that leads to lined up and consistent decisions.

Challenges to Supply Chain Integration

Well incorporated supply chains are not ubiquitous at this time. There are certainly lot of success stories and lot of pockets of outstanding supply chain integration. There are also numerous cases of failures and breakdowns in integration. There are few crucial challenges organizations need to fulfill to accomplish real supply chain integration.

1. Establish a vision of how financial and non-financial outcomes will certainly improve with supply chain integration.
2. Develop individuals, culture and an organization that supports the supply chain vision.
3. Develop customer-centric metrics.
4. Develop numerous supply chains to fulfill the requirements of different customer and market sections.
5. Establish the appropriate positioning of work on a global basis.
6. Integrate supply chain factor to consider into services and product design choices.
7. Keep sourcing as a first-level priority.
8. Stay concentrated and consistent in relationships with consumers and suppliers.
9. Produce an efficient Sales and Operations process.
10. Develop legitimate and dependable databases, data and information.
11. Develop the capabilities and analytic tools required to make reliable choices in a progressively complicated and high-risk environment.
12. Construct trust within and across companies in the supply chain.
13. Discover ways to share risk equitably among supply chain partners.
14. Find ways to share benefits equitably among supply chain partners.

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