Trends to Watch
Some of the trends and changes that are having a direct impact on supply chain management include:
Vendor Competition – Vendors are more competitive than ever because all companies need to make a buck to meet overhead expenses. To ensure realistic inventory levels, organizations need to use a vendor selection process in more of a request for proposal format to find the best vendors.
Lack of Vendors – On the other side of vendor competition is the growing lack of vendors due to manufacturing shutdowns, company mergers, and natural disasters that have forced some vendors and supplies to close down and wait out repairs to equipment and facilities.
Cash Flow – Chain supply management means buying inventory when you need it (JIT) or keeping a balanced level of pertinent inventory on-hand (Min/Max). With economies in deep trouble, businesses are finding it harder to manage cash flow to purchased needed inventory or supplies using this methodology.
Types of Vendors – Green technology is upon us and it is affecting suppliers as well. As vendors search for ways to make their products and shipping containers greener, costs may rise or fall depending on efforts achieved. The general public may be more impressed with a company utilizing these types of vendors.
Global Challenges – Companies need to look at the logistics of where they are obtaining inventory. Is the global challenge better and more cost effective? Or, do companies stick with products made in the United States. Because almost everything made these days does indeed include some sort of import element, which overseas suppliers will offer the best bang for the buck? Inventory managers need to analyze overseas inventory costs and devise plans to achieve the right inventory at the right price. The price of labor to produce supplies overseas is also hot topic consideration.
Inventory Controls – Believe it or not, inventory control is still a change impacting supply chain management because of the lack of inventory controls in place. Inventory can make or break your business so if you haven’t implemented good control and inventory tracking—you need to now.
Technology – Almost everyone is “connected" and via mobile apps, laptops or the World Wide Web, it’s now possible for real-time pricing options and inventory resources in a snap. Expect more supply chain management software and best practices to help you make quick and fast decisions.
Stock Orders – Vendors that offer discounts on designated stock order days has been successfully used in the automotive industry, however, expect it to become more popular in other manufacturing areas.
Consumer Wants – Customer relationship management (CRM) is a hot issue these days and more companies are recognizing it’s not so much the price, but the customer experience that is defining their inventory.