Supply chain professionals face a number of increasing pressures to manage an effective, efficient and sustainable supply chain. These are largely related to globalised supply chains, cost pressures and consumer demand. Here are the three biggest challenges to supply chain management today.
Cost dictated by customers
Getting the right price for your products is hard. On the one hand, you need to take into account the cost of electricity, labour rates, transportation and other issues when deciding the final price. On the other hand, consumers have a big say over your pricing. If they think the product costs too much and one of your competitors is selling something similar for less, you could lose customers.
Lack of visibility
It is a challenge ensuring you know what is going on in your supply chain from end to end, particularly when you have a long, complex supply chain across the globe. Indeed, this is the norm among many supply chains. However, this causes trouble with gathering real-time data across tiers, which you need for forecasting. Also, you need to keep abreast of issues in your suppliers' countries and understand how supplier partner management is faring.
Making sure the product is up to spec
In spite of the pressures to keep costs down, including outsourcing to cheaper manufacturers, the expectation for quality products that completely fulfill the needs of buyers does remain. You need to get a balance between cheap production and quality.
Part of making sure your product leads to fulfillment is by keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing. Companies are constantly seeking new ways to innovate with products and improve customer service, without raising their prices too much. Therefore, you should seek out ways to improve your own supply chain, taking inspiration from what your competitors are doing and finding ways to improve on their methods.
However, often this seems to result in a more globalised supply chain, resulting in the struggles mentioned above with trying to ensure visibility across all tiers.
If you are facing these issues, get in touch! We would love to hear from you and see how we can help improve your supply chain management.