What is a Healthy Supply Chain Anyway?
It’s a term I use daily in my career. But surprisingly many owners and CEO execs don’t understand why a supply chain needs to be kept healthy and what it looks like when all the systems and parts are working together properly.
Let’s start by looking at the definition of a supply chain. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a supply chain is “the sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity.”
Next, let’s take a look at what it means to be healthy. Once again, according to our Oxford friends, health is a noun used to describe “the state of being free from illness or injury.” Therefore, healthy is an adjective meaning the same.
When combined: A healthy supply chain is a sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity that is free from illness or injury.
A Living Breathing Thing
Think of it this way: when a person is healthy, his or her body works well and is without issue. His brain functions properly, her heart beats normally. We focus a lot on treating our body in a healthy manner. This may include things such as eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, exercising, meditating, socializing, and going to therapy.
When it comes to being healthy, a supply chain needs the same thoughtful nurturing. Just as the human body must be cared for to ensure that it remains in a state free from illness or injury, so too does the supply chain. If we think of a supply chain as a living, breathing thing, it makes it clearer that if you feed it good things and take care of it, it will provide you with what you need. If you don’t provide it with the right things, it will likely fail you – or at least fall short in one way or another.
Components of a Healthy Supply Chain
In much the same way that there are necessary components to staying in good health (diet, exercise, etc.), there are also much needed components to keeping your supply chain in good health too.
Strategy plays a major role in everything from product customization and quality control to cost reductions, and speed-to-market. Having a thoughtful and well-understood strategy can create a smooth transition throughout your supply chain.
To create a proper supply chain strategy, you must first consider your overall business strategy as well as your customer needs. A well-thought-out supply chain strategy can not only support your business strategy, but it can bring down operational cost, maximize the efficiency of your system, strengthen partnerships, boost customer service, and provide a purpose.
You can create a good supply chain strategy by considering your supply chain as a strategic asset of your company.
Leveraging your supply chain can provide you with a Competitive Advantage in the marketplace. This includes providing more value to your customers than your competitors. While pricing plays a huge role when it comes to value, leveraging your supply chain to offer more value will improve development of the other competitive advantages necessary to avoid price wars with competitors.
We’re in 2020, and therefore there is little surprise that newer technologies are helping to revolutionize supply chains. Between automation and other advanced solutions, the costs, organization, and efficiency of your supply chain can improve and sustain growth.
Advancements in tech allow us to take a more holistic view when it comes to planning, managing, and forecasting customer needs. New technology can be used as a competitive advantage in order to bring more value.
One of the main things that can help you to reduce costs (and increase your bottom line), maximize efficacy, improve customer service, and organization, among other things, is to examine your company’s workflow. When you take an interdepartmental approach to disseminate your execution strategy throughout your entire organization properly, results and efficacy approve drastically. To read more on this topic, please download our eBook here to learn what else an improved organizational approach can accomplish for your organization.
Reaping the Rewards
Here are just a few of the results you’ll see when you assure your supply chain is in top working order:
You’ll have control.
Your costs will be kept low and predictable.
You’ll have full capacity when you need it.
Your supply chain will be reliable (fewer dissatisfied customers; better reputation).
You may have an inbound management program.
You are having regular QBR’s.
You have a TMS that comes at no cost.
Thinking and Re-thinking Ahead
As we continue onward in the first year of a new decade, more than ever the success of a company will require a healthy supply chain. In order to achieve this, we must rethink how we view it. We must stop thinking of a supply chain as one single thing and instead look at it as the sum of its parts. We must ensure that each of its components is working at the highest level for our supply chain to reach optimal health.
Reach out today to learn how Victory Supply Chain Services can help you create or maintain a #HealthySupplyChain.