Tips for supply chain management

The saying, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away,” suggests that if we eat well, we will be able to perform longer without any major medical overhauls. The same principle applies to a supply chain: to create and maintain a sustainable and competitive supply chain, the people and operations involved must be continuously fed or else the supply chain risks deterioration.

Key elements of a superior supply chain

Reliable delivery
Providing customers and clients with cost-effective and quality solutions

Internal flexibility & responsiveness to the market
Having the ability to quickly adapt to a business model to meet the changing needs of the market

Cost control
Being able to deliver and respond to customers’ needs whilst maintaining a cost effective supply chain that stays within budgetary and financial constraints

Efficient asset utilisation
Ensuring available assets in the supply chain, including staff and technologies, are utilised efficiently

Continuous improvement philosophy
Understanding and instilling in others and believing that real business improvement comes by continuously looking for better ways to operate.


Underpinning the above key elements of a best practice supply chain are three key building blocks: Process; Information/Technology; and People (PIP).

Periodic review of clear and concise processes and policies that align with business growth can help eliminate “noise” created by unclear business operating rules.

Also, access to Supply Chain Management (SCM) technology to collate and transform large volumes of data into useful information to base effective, informed decisions can also help better supply chain operations.

Whilst the entire PIP concept is important, the core of a healthy supply chain is arguably a team of dedicated and dynamic people aligned to a common purpose. A well-trained team, driven by a strong leader who inspires a shared vision for the future, can overcome process and technology gaps in any company. The effectiveness of the people who create and use the processes and SCM tools, ultimately determine whether or not a company gains a competitive edge in the market via their supply chain activities.

While formal education is beneficial, an organisational culture that allows for ongoing education and practical application of supply chain practice is also critical in harnessing a superior team. Opportunities to develop basic business knowledge and communication and organisational skills, such as the ability to deal with conflict, manage priorities and projects, are important.

It is time to give your supply chain a check-up?

Leanne Armstrong is the General Manager of Full Capacity.

Full Capacity
0418 229 080

Image: earthmover.com.au

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