As you move into the new year, it's the perfect opportunity to revisit your supply chain management strategies and retool them so they bring you continued success in 2015. Part of looking forward in terms of your procedures and policies involves looking back and seeing what has and has not worked both locally and across the globe. You'll also benefit from examining recent and forecasted supply chain trends to get a clearer picture of where the industry currently is and where it will likely be heading. Not only will these steps help you decide how to best align your own strategies, but in doing so, you'll also be improving your operational efficiency and gearing your company for more fluid, reliable delivery. Staying current with your supply chain management strategy will keep you one step ahead of other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), giving you a competitive edge that will bolster your operations.
All about sustainability
In a world where lean manufacturing takes precedence, the sustainability of your factory and supply chain can make a huge difference. To get an idea if where your company stands, the annual Sustainable Supply Chain Review by Acquisti and Sostenibilita serves as a great benchmark. The 2014 report surveyed 430 companies across 30 different sectors in 40 different countries. One of the key findings of the survey was that 44 percent of enterprises involved have established employee training regarding sustainability, which could be worthy of consideration for your own company. It could certainly provide that edge, as only 10 out of the 430 companies actually had full-time human resources staff dedicated to sustainability training and management.
Metrics, metrics and more metrics
Perhaps the best way to measure sustainability is to collect as much data as possible. The more information you have to analyze, the more accurate and informative your results will be. Big data and business intelligence are becoming more prominent in the technology-side of running a business, and for good reason – these tools offer a way to collect, store, analyze and manipulate large amounts of data – everything from shipping and receiving to waste and delivery can be tracked and interpreted. Forbes recommended that OEMs look toward their customer base especially. This end of the supply chain is arguably the most important to track, as without customers the rest of the supply chain won't matter.
The Net Promoter Score can be a great metric to employ, as it is a simple satisfaction scale that allows you to categorize customers into three groups – promoters, passives and detractors, according to Forbes. By asking clients how likely they would be to recommend the company to others, based on a scale of 0-10, you can have a better idea of where you stand. Those in the 9-10 range are promoters, loyal and enthusiastic about the service. Those 7-8 are passive – satisfied but not so thrilled that they'd urge others to seek out your services, and anyone on the 0-6 range is considered a detractor, who is unhappy and more likely to spread negative sentiments that could harm your business. If you find you've got more detractors than promoters, it may be time to reevaluate your supply chain to improve the end result.
Put your data to work
If the detractors are upset because your delivery timetables can sometimes be unreliable, you can make adjustments throughout your supply chain to improve the end product. For instance, setting up a vendor managed inventory (VMI) program can all but eliminate production downtime and stock-outs. The supplier will be in charge of procuring, managing and monitoring your inventory of class C components, ensuring you never run out of parts on the factory floor, while keeping your warehouse manageable.