Business Plan, Supply Chain Strategy, Collaboration Relationships

The following topics are discussed in this section:

Business Plan

  • A business plan is a written document that describes the overall direction of the firm and what it wants to become in future.

(Definition) Business Plan is a statement if long-range strategy and revenue, cost and profit objectives usually accompanied by budgets, a projected balance sheet and a cash flow (source and application of funds) statement. A business plan is usually stated in terms of dollars and grouped by product family. The business plan is then translated into synchronized tactical functional plans through the production planning process (or the sales and operations planning process). Although, frequently stated in different terms (dollars vs units), these tactical plans should agree with each other and with the business plan.

  • Key function such a finance, engineering, marketing and operations typically have input into the plans.

  1. Finance
    The finance function manages and tracks the sources of funds, amounts available for use, cash flows, budgets, profits and return on investment.
  2. Engineering
    The Engineering function is responsible for research and development and the design and redesign of products that can be made most economically.
  3. Marketing
    The Marketing function focus is on analysis of the market place and how the form positions itself and its products.
  4. Operations
    The goal of the operations function is to meet the demands of the market place via the organization’s product. Operations also manage the manufacturing facilities, machinery, equipment, labor and materials as efficiently as possible.
  • The functional roles collectively support the success of the supply chain.

Supply Chain Strategy

  • Functional strategies underlying supply chain management must articulate with the business plan.
  • The purpose of supply chains is to be globally competitive.
  • Time, distance and collaboration are basic elements in modern supply chains that impact the chains ability to respond to competitive changes in the global market place.

Collaborative Relationships

  • In the virtual corporation and virtual networks, we can and therefore we must share ideas and data to be competitive.
  • What do these strategic partnerships look like in action? Suppliers, manufacturers and customers all come together on design teams to create products that will not only satisfy customer demand but will be efficient to produce, assemble, transport and store.

Partnership Criteria

  • Seven factors need to be carefully researched and considered when forming a supply chain strategy:
    • Add value.
    • Improve Market Access.
    • Strengthen Operations.
    • Add Technological Strength.
    • Enhance Strategic Growth.
    • Share Insights and Learning.
    • Increase Financial Strength.
  • Every potential partner organization has its strengths or core competencies.
  • It’s only a successful strategic alliance if the partnership results in a “win-win” for both parties.
  • Effective partnerships are a combination of shared risks, resources, rewards, vision and values.

Building Collaborative Relationships

  • In order to build the foundation of collaborative partnership, the partners must:
    • Initiate management tasks.
    • Overcome barriers to collaboration.
    • Build levels of communication.
    • Determine levels of collaborative intensity.
    • Examine strategic importance versus difficulty to determine product categories.
  • Initiate Management Tasks
    • Once the collaboration is official, it’s critical that top management demonstrate their enthusiastic commitment to the partnership.
    • This process begins with determining the specific contribution of each party and the criteria for measuring that contribution.
    • In early stages, relationships should emphasize equity in profits among all parties. Equity will help motivate all parties to work toward the good of the whole.
    • The next talk is to define roles for each party, taking care to avoid redundant efforts. Conflicts can occur if these roles make one party more dependent upon another than they wish to be. To alleviate this common problem, networks should avoid sequential interdependence, in which the second party cannot begin work until the first party is done. Instead, they should establish reciprocal interdependence, in which the exchange of tasks and services occur in both directions. Examples of this include CPFR (Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment).
    • Since no contract can cover all contingencies, the next task is to create a policy for resolving conflicts.
  • Overcome Barriers to Collaboration

    Building successful collaboration requires overcoming predictable obstacles, including the following challenges:

  1. Sub Optimization

    Sub optimization refers to a solution to a problem that is best from a narrow point of view but not from a higher or overall company point of view.

  2. Individual Incentives that Conflict with Organizational Goals
  • Incentives, such as sales force bonuses, structured without thought for the supply chain strategy, can often be counterproductive.
  • These practices create a great deal of excess inventory as well as variability in demand that the manufacturer must then deal with. Instead sales goals must be aligned with actual demand.
  1. Working with Competitors

    One firm may try to win market share at the expense of the other. Such relationships should be kept at arm’s length to ensure fairness and extra caution must be devoted to sharing information. Companies may pretend to embrace collaboration when they really only want access to information for their own benefit.

  2. Bottlenecks Caused by Weak or Slow Partners

    If the firm is not willing to invest un a technical and social change process, the only alternative may be to find a more willing or able partner who can keep up with the networks collaboration curve.

  3. Technology Barriers
  • When potential partners have incompatible systems, it increases the difficulty of sharing data.
  • Incompatible and / or antiquated hardware infrastructures can also prove a barrier to collaboration.
  1. Power-Based Relationship
  • Rather than building relationships based upon trust and mutual benefit, the nucleus firm may use its leverage to dedicate the terms of relationships to other members.
  • While the profits of the nucleus firm increase, other members of the network may suffer losses. When this occurs, the disadvantaged partner may rebel.
  • Resistance may result in redundancy, loss of overall profitability for the chain or an actual reversal of the power relationship. Once in power, the mistreated party may retaliate instead of using the opportunity to develop equitable relationships along the chain.
  1. Underestimated Benefits
  • When collaboration is viewed as another type of process reengineering, the partners generally measure the results in reduced cost and cycle time rather than return on investment (ROI), which is a better long-term indicator.
  • Simply measuring efficiency increases will fail to account for some of the true long-term benefits or collaboration.
  • This may lead managers to reject a collaborative venture based on a failure to see gains such as removal of reduplicated efforts, enhanced innovation and better use of total system assets and processes.
  1. Culture Conflicts
  • Cultures tend to be egocentric and thus tens to resist external collaboration. They feel that their ways are the best ways of doing things and will often reject a different way without even considering it.
  • Culture conflicts are increased when each company relies on its own sources of information and unable to see the impact of its choices on other areas of the network. When companies don’t see the negative results of their actions, they can’t learn from their mistakes.
  • Another potential culture conflict can arise when managers delay or prevent collaboration. Such managers generally have safeguarded their positions by not sharing information so that they may be sought for their expertise.
  • Others feel that collaboration is a fad or a bad idea altogether. Still others talk about collaboration, but they are only interested in receiving the benefits from a partner without reciprocating.
  • Build Levels of Communication

    Communication between partners can take place on different levels; not all collaborations dependent upon the same degree of intensity of communication.

    Four levels of communication:

  1. Transactional with Information Sharing

    At this level of communication, each partner has access to a single source of data about matters such as workflow, forecasts and transactions. Contracts are generally medium term.

  2. Shared Processes and Partnership

    At this level, partners collaborative in specific processes such as design. They share knowledge across the network, contracts are longer term.

  3. Linked Competitive Vision and Strategic Alliance

    At this level, supply chain partners function as virtual entity, working out even the highest level of strategy together. The partners develop considerable trust and achieve social and cultural understanding as well as information sharing. Strategic alliances may last for decades.

  4. Backward Integration (Mergers and Administrations)
  • Outsourcing current functions isn’t the only way to forge links in a chain. Mergers or acquisitions may involve two companies in the same till rather than horizontal supplier-customer partners.
  • Although mergers would seem to provide the deepest level of trust and communication, the sudden clash of business, regional and national cultures involved often requires years of work to align attitudes, technology and business practices.
  • Determine Levels of Collaborative Intensity
    • Determining the level of collaborative intensity that each relationship requires depends on cost, quality, delivery, reliability, precision and flexibility.
    • Cost speaks for itself, but cost and quality often are inversely proportional.
    • Quality and delivery reliability are usually measured by number of defects allowed or late orders and are often collectively rated by members of an exchange using supplier history.
    • Precision is measured as degree of variance from specifications.
    • Flexibility is the ability of the supplier or manufacturer to deliver in varying quantities when given a specific number of days’ notice.
    • These criteria are strongly influenced by four factors related to the product or service:
      • Strategic Importance
      • Complexity
      • Number of Suppliers
      • Uncertainty
  • Examine Strategic Importance vs Difficulty to Determine Product categories

    If a partnership requires more than one of the intense collaboration levels – for example, when there is a limited number of suppliers and uncertainty about an item’s availability – then the need for higher collaborative intensity can be turned as “high strategic importance”.

    This model can be used to determine which suppliers are most appropriate for each of the four types of goods:

  1. Commodity Materials
  • Low strategic importance
  • Low supply chain difficulty

They require suppliers whose priority is cost reduction. These item are best purchased at arm’s length. Which of your suppliers can provide the best cost reduction on the commodity items you need?

  1. Bottleneck Materials
  • Low strategic importance
  • High supply chain difficulty

Efforts must be made to ensure that the need for these items is fulfilled. Therefore, some level of ongoing relationship with a particular supplier may be called for.

  1. Leveragable Materials
  • High strategic importance
  • Low difficulty levels

They call for collaboration to maximize both cost savings and reliability through means such as bulk purchasing by multiple members of the supply chain.

  1. Direct or Core Competency Materials
  • High strategic importance
  • High difficulty

Require strategic partnerships for longer periods of time to ensure availability and quality.

Features and Benefits of Collaboration

Collaborative Relationship Features Benefits
Joint development of shared processes. Lower costs.
Open sharing of information and knowledge. Improved quality.
Jointly developed performance metrics. Better customer service.
Open two-way communications. Reduced inventories.
Network wide visibility. Rapid project results.
Clear roles and responsibility. Reduced cycle times and lead times.
Joint problem solving. More effective working relationships.
Commitment to the relationship. Enhanced commitment to one another.

Supply Chain Management Benefits

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:
    • Visibility
    • Velocity
    • Variability

Increased Visibility

(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.

Increased Velocity

  • There are four types of flows in a supply chain:
  1. Physical materials and services
  2. Cash
  3. Information
  4. 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).

Reduced Variability

(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

Variety refers to the mix of products and services in a portfolio that must alter to meet changes in customer demand.

Volume

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.

Integrated Operations

  • 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.

Increased Sustainability

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.

Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR)

  • Collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment (CPFR®) is a way to integrate the elements of demand management among supply chain partners.
  • CPFR is:
    • A collaborative process whereby supply chain trading partners can jointly plan key supply chain activities from production and delivery of raw materials to production and delivery of final products to end customers. Collaboration encompasses business planning, sales forecasting, and all operations required to replenish raw materials and finished goods.
    • A process philosophy for facilitating collaborative communications.

CPFR Model

The VICS CPFR model is broken into four major activities comprising eight collaboration tasks, with two tasks listed under each of the four activities. The eight collaboration tasks are further associated with 16 enterprise tasks carried out either by the buyer/retailer or seller/manufacturer.

CPFR Collaboration Activities and Tasks

The enterprise tasks function as links between the collaboration tasks and the overall operation of the enterprise. These links serve to eliminate redundancies and discrepancies that occur when the manufacturer and the retailer carry out those tasks in isolation.

Strategy and Planning

  • The purpose of strategy and planning is to establish rules for the relationship, define the mix of products, and develop plans for upcoming events.
  • There are two specific collaboration tasks to be completed within this area:
    • Collaboration arrangement:

      Collaboration arrangement involves setting business goals, defining the scope of collaboration, and assigning roles, responsibilities, checkpoints and escalation procedures.

    • Joint Business Plan:
      A joint business plan identifies significant events such as promotions, inventory policy changes, store openings and closings, and product introductions. Marketing planning is the responsibility of the manufacturer, while the retailer takes care of category management.

Demand and Supply Management

  • In this area, the partners forecast consumer demand at the point-of-sale and determine order and shipment requirements. The model specifies two tasks:
    • Sales Forecasting
      The manufacturer analyzes market data, while the retailer forecasts point-of-sale (POS) numbers.
    • Order planning/forecasting
      The manufacturer conducts demand planning, while the retailer undertakes replenishment planning.

Execution

  • This area, which is also known as the order-to-cash cycle, involves placing orders, preparing and delivering shipments, receiving and stocking products at the retail site, recording transactions, and making payments.
  • The model identifies two execution tasks:
    • Order Generation
      The manufacturer does production and supply planning, while the retailer conducts the activities associated with buying.
    • Order Fulfillment
      This involves logistics and distribution management for both manufacturer and retailer.

Analysis

  • In the analysis phase, the supply chain partners monitor planning and execution activities to identify exceptions.
  • They also aggregate results and calculate key performance metrics, share insights, and adjust plan as part of continuous improvement.
  • Analysis involves the following two tasks:
    • Exception Management
      This involves execution monitoring by the manufacturer and store execution by the retailer.
    • Performance Assessment
      Manufacturer and retailer keep scorecards to access each other’s performance.

Technology

  • CPFR is at heart about developing effective business processes to synchronize supply chain operations across enterprise boundaries.
  • The success of CPFR depends upon willingness to work with shared data efficiently in real time.
  • CPFR software solutions include systems that allow enterprise partners to:
    • Share forecasts and historical data.
    • Automate the collaboration arrangement and business plan.
    • Evaluate exceptions.
    • Enable two-way, real-time conversations, revisions and commentary.

CPFR Benefits and Challenges

Instituting CPFR and realizing its benefits may require meeting several predictable challenges:

  • Increased costs
  • Resistance to data sharing
  • Bridging internal functions

When setting up a CPFR relationship, cross-functional teams might bring together marketing and sales, financial product specialist, logistics specialists, and demand planners who would collaborate among themselves and speak with a single voice to the customer.