Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The View from the Top

Supply chain visibility is useful only to the extent C-level executives can act upon it.

Management tools available today allow companies to track shipments in real time, compare alternate distribution channels, and analyze the effect of multiple variables on future demand. As more shippers utilize sophisticated modeling for their supply chains, the question becomes how to translate the data generated into concrete actions.

Many companies today find themselves managing a hybrid network of owned and outsourced manufacturing locations, creating an even greater challenge for developing useful information than a supply chain made up of company-owned facilities. Upper management, and their logistics partners, must be clear on what to measure, and how the intelligence developed will be used.

Total Landed Cost analysis and related studies must be tied back to business objectives and bottom-line decisions, if they are truly to provide the benefits they promise. Key performance indicators and shared metrics can be stipulated in service-level agreements, but this by itself does not necessarily provide the level of visibility needed to manage the network in turbulent economic times.

When costs and savings for a given channel or program can be clearly identified and quantified, management is empowered to take the next step, and act upon the insights generated. Only then can supply chain visibility show its true value to the company’s bottom line.

Kirk Shearer
800-989-0054 x103

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