It seems obvious, but some logistics professionals still fail to realize just how badly an inefficient and poorly functioning supply chain can affect each aspect of their organizations. As companies are attempting to increase their supply chain prowess to compete and gain more market share, they are utilizing technology and process upgrades in order to achieve clear supply chain excellence, which is widely accepted as a crucial element of overall business strategy.

Unfortunately, as almost any logistics professional can tell you, any sudden change in the marketplace can turn into the storm that turns the supply chains on their heads. The trends are changing continuously, so supply chain experts need to respond to what best (and quickly) can drive the business.

Here are five strategies that can help you survive — and even thrive — in the midst of the changing supply chain trends.

1. Adopt a business operating model or demand-driven plan based on real-time demand insights

With the help of the right planning tools and prediction, you can ensure you have the full picture as well as an effective response to the risks faced by the suppliers who run out of business, natural calamities, and political upheaval that spoils their manufacturing process. Companies can adjust the price techniques as per the demand and move extra products quickly to drive the revenue growth or expand the margins for a highly demanding product with a limited supply market.

2. Create an agile supply chain with rapid planning

All of your executives need to have a proper understanding of the demand and risks associated with your supply chain, and they need to adapt their supply chains to best position themselves to grab the market opportunities. Also, organizations need to deploy dynamic planning capabilities and tune in to operations for meeting the changing demand. The new model strives for more continuous and dynamic supply chain management to quickly respond as the market changes. This will minimize the risks and eliminate all the aftershocks across the supply network, resulting in better visibility and goal-based collaboration. You also need to have strong agility as it results in market reactivity and has never been easier to achieve — with the right people, process, and technology technologies.

3. Allow product optimization designs and product management for manufacturing and supply to accelerate innovations

Innovation is always necessary in order to stay ahead of the competition, but it does not occur in a vacuum. The projects have to be manufactured at the right cost, time, and place to be successful, and decisions are made on an early basis, sometimes during the product development life cycle. Designs need to be optimized for supply, and the supply chain operations must be able to accurately predict the exact costs that occur to the company in order to maintain the balance for an end to end business.

4. Align your business goals with the supply chain by proper integration of sales and operations

There are many disconnects and gaps that are faced among the finance, strategy, and operations groups in various companies, although there is often great coordination among the sales and operations teams as they plan for the sales and distribution aspect of the supply chain. To resolve this disconnect, you need to integrate your business planning with the people, process, and technology elements for bridging the gap and drive success. By doing so, you can ensure revenue goals and budgets are developed in finance against a detailed and bottom-up operating plan that will get executed.

5. Try for reliable and predictable supply

The customer-facing stakeholder may make decisions in an attempt to enhance the service levels, while a manufacturer may tend to hold an inventory to ensure that they meet the basic service levels of the customer, and these two decisions can often be at odds with one another. This can cost businesses big bucks as this leads to supply shortfalls or the wrong products being delivered at the wrong place and time. Working on continuous improvement and operational excellence strategies lays a strong foundation for a successful process to support the digital manufacturing thread among the end-to-end supply chain, ensuring that all of the manufacturing operations are connected and integrated with the planning processes.

The Bottom Line

It is a tough job to develop, manufacture, and sell a product, and it challenges even the best organizations in the best of times. Companies need to constantly be seeking out new technologies, processes, and strategies in order to stay competitive. This industry is not one that allows us to rest on our laurels; we need to constantly be learning and growing.

Charles Richard works as a Business Analyst at TatvaSoft UK, a leading software development company based in London. He is passionate about writing tech & non-tech pieces.