The on-going volatility and uncertainty of the worldwide economic condition has re-asserted the fact that organizations that identify trends and adjust to them quickly are the most likely to survive and succeed.
Even in these tough conditions shipping giants like Maersk and DP World has reported higher profits and they expect the improvement to continue.
In the words of the editorial staff of ‘Supply Chain Digest’, Supply chain organizations and executives have to cope up with a few key challenges in the coming years, challenges which are an outcome of the trends in the Supply Chain Industry.
1. Increasing instability of the supply chain
Decrease in customer loyalty due to price sensitivity and improved market transparency, coupled with the ever widening gap between supply & demand, along with deteriorating forecast accuracy are the major challenges in the way of achieving stability. A well designed supply chain management solution that offers flexibility to the network can provide the stability that is lacking in the present scenario. The key aspects that should be taken note of while designing such supply chain management software are:
- Forecast accuracy
- Increased visibility
- Optimization of cash flow & margin
- Customer behaviour
- Integration of supply chain with product development
- Supplier performance
- Quick response to market changes
2. End-to-End supply chain visibility
An integral part of a well designed supply chain management system is risk and opportunity management, and that should also include management of the key partners. Demand planning and forecasting play an important role in the build up of a lean supply chain. Organizations are concentrating heavily to employ a solution that can accurately forecast demands and in the process help them to achieve a lean and cost effective supply chain. The smart organizations are increasingly relying on end to end approach to manage risks at each and every node of their supply chain.
Increased supply chain globalization along with increasing demand for customized products among the customers add to the complexity of a supply chain. Although changing dynamics of international trade rules & regulations pose as a major road-block for effective supply chain management. Regionally configured supply chains which are primarily focused to serve regional customers according to their requirement are the call of the day.
4. Integrated supply chain
Organizations are trying hard to integrate the functional silos within their supply chain. They are putting aside short-term profitability and investing heavily to develop that one “holy grail” solution that will integrate their entire supply chain and equip them to tackle the present day supply chain challenges efficiently. An efficient supply chain solution should not only be able to integrate all the functions in the supply chain, but should also provide visibility across the entire supply chain thereby aiding the decision making process to impact the entire supply chain and optimize it as a whole, and not just affect one function or node in the supply chain.