Never has so much technology and brainpower been applied to improving supply chain performance. Point-of-sale scanners allow companies to capture the customer’s voice.
Electronic data interchange lets all stages of the supply chain hear that voice and react to it by using flexible manufacturing, automated warehousing and rapid logistics. New concepts such as quick response, efficient consumer response, accurate response, mass customisation, lean manufacturing, and agile manufacturing offer models for applying the new technology to improve performance.
Nonetheless, the performance of many supply chains has never been worse. In some cases, costs have risen to unprecedented levels because of adversarial relations between supply chain partners as well as dysfunctional industry practices such as an overreliance on price promotions. Supply chains in many other industries suffer from an excess of some products and a shortage of others owing to an inability to predict demand. Why haven’t the new ideas and technologies led to improved performance? Because managers lack a framework for deciding which ones are best for their particular company’s situation.
We helps managers understand the nature of the demand for their products and devise the supply chain that can best satisfy that demand. Before devising a supply chain, consider the nature of the demand for your products.
For many companies, products are ends, but for customers, products are means. The disjunction between how customers think and how companies organise themselves is what leads to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.