The numerous benefits of marketing supply chain management practices, systems and technologies include:
- Improved market knowledge.
- The three Vs – Increase velocity, increased visibility, and reduced variability in the flows of goods and services, funds and information.
- Integrated operations.
- Improved management of risk.
- Increased sustainability.
Improved Market Knowledge
- With supply chain management in place, partners in the supply chain begin to share their knowledge about the market place and in particular about their customers.
- Although, market intelligence can be purchase from outside sources, it’s most advantageous (and less expensive) to gather it from your partners.
- There are a myriad of sources and documents containing valuable customer information that can be shared between supply chain partners, including transaction records, customer survey results, sales and service representative knowledge and information from distribution points such as retailers, internet sites or kiosks.
- Purchased data may be more useful in acquiring new customers than in managing relationships with existing customers.
The Three Vs
Following are the key elements of a successful supply chain strategy:
(Definition) Visibility is the ability to view important information throughout a facility or supply chain no matter where in the facility or supply chain the information is located.
- With better visibility, a supply chain manager or employee can see the results of activities occurring in the chain and is made aware of minor, incremental changes via technological processes.
- Better visibility has resulted in greater velocity.
- There are four types of flows in a supply chain:
- Physical materials and services
- Returns (or reverse flow) of products for repair, recycling or disposal
- Supply chain management impacts the velocity of these four flows in a positive manner.
(Definition) Velocity is a term used to indicate the relative speed of all transactions, collectively, within a supply chain community. A maximum velocity is most desirable because it indicates a higher asset turnover for stock holders and faster order-to-delivery response for customers.
Methods of increasing the velocity of transactions along the supply chain include the following:
- Relying on more rapid modes of transportation (if there is a net benefit after the increase in transportation costs).
- Reducing the time in which inventory is not moving by using Just-in-Time delivery and lean manufacturing (the less time inventory spends at rest, the less likely it is to suffer damage or spoilage. Increased velocity reduces the expenses involved in warehousing inventory).
- Eliminating activities that do not add value, thus reducing the time required to accomplish supply chain activities.
- Speeding up the flow of demand and cash as well as the velocity of inventory (the more rapidly payments are received from customers, the sooner the money can be put to work in the business or deposited at interest. Information about demand changes is crucial when the competitive strategy is responsiveness).
(Definition) Variability is the natural tendency of the results of all business activities to fluctuate above and below an average value, such as fluctuations around average time to completion, average number of defects, average daily sales, or average production yields.
- Variability decreases with good supply chain management.
- Supply chain management works to reduce variability in both supply and demands much as possible.
- The traditional offset against variability is safety stock. If greater visibility along the chain results in greater velocity, supply chain managers should also be able to reduce the amounts of safety stock required to match supply to spikes in demand.
- Supply chain management serves to reduce both demand and supply variability. Demand variability has many sources, but a primary source that can be controlled is bullwhip effects.
- The bullwhip effect is an extreme change in the supply position upstream that is generated by a small change in demand downstream in the supply chain.
- Supply variability typically increases in waves down the chain starting with small amounts at the resource extraction sites and culminating in the largest amounts at the retail end of the chain.
Two Additional Vs
Variety refers to the mix of products and services in a portfolio that must alter to meet changes in customer demand.
Volume is the amount of product being produced in a given time.
A supply chain must be flexible enough to expand and contract volume to meet changes in demand for mass customized products and services.
- Supply chain management fosters integrated operations by requiring everyone in the supply chain to form partnerships with suppliers or customers.
- Integrated networks, like intranets, extranets, and the internet, play an important role in forming these partnerships.
- Supply chain management uses networks to tie together the various software applications associated with specific activities within supply chain processes.
- Enterprise resources planning software packages enable companies around the globe to not only manage their operations in one plant but to facilitate enterprise wide integration and even cross-company functionality.
Improved Management of Risk
(Definition) Supply Chain Risk is based on decisions and activities that have outcomes that could negativity affect information or goods within a supply chain.
(Definition) Risk Management is the process of identifying risk, analyzing exposures to risk, and determining how to best handle those exposures.
An organization’s strategy to address supply chain risk includes a risk response plan and risk response planning.
(Definition) A Risk Response plan is a written document defining known risks, including description, cause, likelihood, costs, and proposed responses that also identifies the current status of each risk. This is also called a Business Continuity Planning.
(Definition) Risk Response Planning is the process of developing a plan to avoid risks and to mitigate the effect of those that cannot be avoided.
This type of proactive risk planning benefits the organization in a number of ways:
- It helps keep the supply chain flexible so that it can continue functioning despite disruptive events, which in turn helps balance the costs of contingency planning against the potential economic, facility, resources, and inventory losses.
- Risks are shared among supply chain partners who will be prepared to work in concert and play their parts responsibly.
- It prepares the employee workforce and chain partners with valuable, actionable information and confidence to handle nearly any situation with a well-thought-out strategy based on substantiated risk data.
Sustainability and Green are often used as synonyms in discussions of corporate obligations that go beyond the traditional emphasis on bottom-line profits. Both terms refer to the need for economic activity to operate within limits imposed by natural resources.