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by Didier Gerschheimer, Partner, Supply Chain Management

REVOLUTIONIZING SUPPLY CHAINS ACROSS CONTINENTS AND INDUSTRIES

Having worked closely with countless manufacturing companies in both Europe and North America, I have come to realize that the challenges faced by supply chains are universal. Whether national or international regardless of industry, every supply chain can benefit from continuous improvement and long-term forecasting. The key lies in creating a centralized, user-friendly platform that fosters transparency, aligns goals with the company vision, and empowers employees with the right KPIs. In this article, we will explore the essential steps to revolutionize supply chains and drive success through end-to-end transparency. 

THE POWER OF LONG-TERM FORECASTING: In today’s fast-paced business landscape, forecasting as far in advance as possible has become a strategic imperative. The ideal timeframe for forecasting is at least 18 months, giving companies the ability to proactively address bottlenecks and capitalize on market opportunities. By anticipating future demand and supply trends, businesses can optimize production, inventory, and logistics, thus reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction. 

BREAKING DOWN SILOS – A CRITICAL IMPERATIVE: At just about every company, I worked with, different departments such as sales, operations, marketing, and procurement worked effectively, but isolated and independently, which limits collaboration and leads to siloed information. This fragmented approach will hinder the flow of information and create inefficiencies in the supply chain. To overcome this challenge, organizations must prioritize breaking down these silos and foster a culture of collaboration. 

CENTRALIZED TOOL FOR ENHANCED VISIBILITY: A major issue I keep observing in supply chains is the lack of visibility and communication across different departments and stakeholders. To address this challenge, companies need to implement a centralized tool that integrates all aspects of the supply chain and empowers employees with comprehensive insights. 

ALL-IN-ONE PLATFORM: A centralized, user-friendly tool should consolidate data on sales forecasts, supply chain forecasts, human resource forecasts, cashflow, logistics and other critical information. This platform will allow all stakeholders to access the same, up-to-date data, fostering collaboration and informed decision-making. 

KPI ALIGNMENT: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) play a crucial role in measuring supply chain efficiency. It’s essential that everyone in the organization knows their KPIs and how they contribute to the company’s vision. This alignment ensures that individual goals are in harmony with overall company objectives.  

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT JOURNEY: Building a culture of continuous improvement is essential for overcoming supply chain challenges. By establishing a monthly process with deliverables that all supply chain employees buy into, companies can ensure regular progress and problem-solving. 

CREATING TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY: Transparency is the cornerstone of an effective supply chain. It is crucial to connect all aspects of the supply chain, from sales forecasts to production schedules and logistics, in a transparent and accessible manner. 

“WHAT IF” SCENARIOS: In an ever-changing global market, it’s important to be prepared for various scenarios. Companies should create “What If” scenarios to assess potential risks and opportunities, enabling them to make more informed decisions in uncertain situations. 

ACCOUNTABILITY AND OWNERSHIP: All stakeholders, from executives to frontline employees, must be held accountable for their roles in the supply chain. Clear ownership of tasks and responsibilities ensures that issues are addressed promptly, and improvements are made consistently. 

MONTHLY CHECK-INS: To ensure the success of the continuous improvement journey, companies should conduct monthly 30-minute check-ins to gauge progress, identify roadblocks, and provide motivation when needed. 

MOTIVATION AND SUPPORT: Motivating employees is crucial to maintaining their commitment to the improvement journey. Understanding the challenges, they face and providing necessary support can keep the workforce engaged and enthusiastic about the process. 

EMBRACE SIMPLICITY: Supply chain management can be overwhelming due to the vast amount of data and complexities involved. Companies should strive to simplify processes and make data more accessible, enabling end-to-end transparency that benefits everyone involved. 

ENHANCING CROSS-FUNCTIONAL COMMUNICATION: By fostering regular communication and fostering a shared understanding of each department’s role in the supply chain, companies can ensure a cohesive approach toward common goals. Regular meetings, cross-functional projects, and joint problem-solving sessions can facilitate effective communication and foster a spirit of teamwork. 

TRANSPARENCY -THE KEY TO SUCCESS: In an international supply chain, where operations may span multiple countries and involve numerous stakeholders, transparency is paramount. Companies must strive for transparency not only within their organization but also with suppliers, logistics partners, and customers. 

IMPLEMENTING COLLABORATIVE TECHNOLOGIES: Investing in collaborative technologies and integrated software solutions can help streamline information flow and improve visibility across the entire supply chain. Cloud-based platforms that enable real-time data sharing to allow different teams to access and analyze critical information promptly, enabling better decision-making. 

ABOUT DIDIER GERSCHHEIMER:

Didier is an accomplished Supply Chain Management Consultant with 13years of expertise across various industries including chemicals, automotive, and parcel logistics. With 35+ years of experience in his field, Didier has a proven track record of achieving rapid global supply chain optimizations and transformations across several countries. His leadership roles for a $70B consumer goods company included overseeing planning, warehousing, and more across Europe.

Fluent in French, German, and English, Didier excels in leading cross-cultural teams and holds a master’s degree from CEGOS, Paris.

ABOUT ALTIX:

Altix is the middle-market international industrial champions’ management consulting partner, providing business strategy, technology and innovation, and operational excellence support, in the world of advanced manufacturing and international supply chain. www.altixconsulting.com