Ask the Right Questions to Improve Supply Chain Planning
May 17, 2012
Rising pressures make holistic supply chain network planning more critical than ever. A new paper provides key questions that can help improve network planning. While reducing operating costs and inventory, improving on-time delivery, availability and cycle times are all top business objectives in supply chain initiatives, supply chain planning is not simply about supply, operations or manufacturing. Rather, it requires a holistic view of demand, product and supply processes aimed at maximizing opportunity and mitigating risk. Earlier this year, a World Economic Forum Indeed, escalating global risks and local pressures make supply chain network planning more critical than ever. "According to Deloitte LLP, there are more than 200 current and emergent risks that may have an impact [on supply chains," Supply Chain Management Review Meanwhile, with direct-to-customer and e-fulfillment representing 10 percent of all sales volume and forecast to double in the next few years, it would behoove logistics leaders to tap into the expertise all across their companies, not simply supply chain knowledge. A new paper from Tompkins International "The most successful networks consider the entire global supply chain," according to CEO Jim Tompkins. "By going beyond an analysis of the typical costs - transportation, distribution, inventory - and including taxes, customs tariffs and duties, and security compliance, your company moves to the highest phase of network planning." Whereas most network studies are conducted by the supply chain group, which typically has little to do with setting business, marketing or sales strategy, according to Tompkins, including these teams in the network planning group along with supply chain can shift the focus from cutting costs and delivering products to growing the business profitably. This optimized approach further enables businesses to accommodate new patterns of customer ordering, fulfillment and service through multiple channels of e-commerce. Tompkins believes that answering the following questions can help improve network planning:
- What are the correct costs of operations given the right application of technology?
- What are the real costs of transportation given the correct transportation solutions?
- What are the right levels of inventory and locations of inventory given the correct inventory strategies?
- What are the real costs of the required real estate in any given location, and not just the costs of "average" space?
- What are the incentives available by locating in certain areas?
- What are the correct energy costs for the various locations being considered?
- What are the tax implications of being located at the various places being considered?
- What are the cost impacts (fuel charges, etc.) or volume fluctuations (M&A or growth) on the plan for the network?