How to Develop a Supply Chain Management Plan
by Linda Ray
Before supply chain managers begin developing vendor relations, delivery times, warehousing staffing and other procedures, they should spend time meeting with senior managers from all the departments within the company to formulate overall company strategies. By aligning supply chain plans with all departments, the supply chain manager earns the support of sales, company executives and customers. Supply chain management decisions coincide with company goals so that supply chain goals end up being more valuable to the company’s overall success.
When supply chain management decisions are not made in a vacuum, they take into account the various parts of the supply chain process that will affect performance. Those areas include technical improvements the company plans to initiate, an analysis of the competition, what customers need and want and what trends may affect the supply chain in the future. Research can be performed in-house or through an outside consultant, and include best-practice ideas from industry sources.
When creating the supply chain plans, include all the areas the supply chain manager controls. Transportation to and
from the plant or warehouse, staffing and structure of the warehouse, and inventory management are vital components of the in-house supply chain that must be addressed. Consider customer needs, procurement processes, supplier pricing and vendor relationships. Supply chain management also must address environmental arenas involved in all of the areas and include measures to meet regulatory requirements and company environmental policies.
One of the most difficult steps in devising a supply chain management strategy is deciding how to best implement the plan and ensure that all steps along the way are integrated and communicated effectively. Supply chain management software is widely available in a variety of applications and choosing the right systems for the company is vital to supply performance and success. It’s also important to make sure front-line supervisors and employees utilize the proper sequencing and information entering processes so that no information is lost along the supply chain. According to CIO, Internet-based supply chain applications are the most effective, because they can be made available to every stakeholder in the supply chain, including top management in the company.
Category: Business plan