Customers' changing demands in the midst of production presents a challenge for many supply chains. An important aspect of successful supply chain management solutions is the ability to keep operations flexible so adjustments can be made on the fly when a client has a new request.
Supply chain management solutions work to not only enable changes to orders or customized specifications, but also allow supply chain companies to maintain a profit when the alterations come into play. For many companies, staying in the black when changes in production occur is a constant struggle and source of financial stress.
How to ignore the forecasts
Kevin Hall, operating officer of a supply chain management supplier, recently presented at the 2012 Pack Expo in Chicago. Hall discussed many ways supply chains can work to reduce waste and boost cash flow without cutting down on services for customers or damaging flexibility. He explained that the growing popularity of customized package configurations among a variety of retailers can quickly complicate the supply chain and throw revenue cycle management into utter chaos. However, sticking to a few best practices will keep supply chain spending in check and ensure retailers are satisfied.
According to Hall, supply chains should focus on redistributing underselling products to over-selling regions to make up for any losses, as well as reconfigure nonperforming products to meet configurations that are turning profits. Supply chain managers should look to move products out of the standard supply chain and into a customized chain, if customized items and specific orders are outperforming other operations. Managers should also consider reverting customized product back into non-customized configurations, while reintroducing it into the standard supply chain.
These best practices can be accomplished quickly through greater reliance on supply chain management technology that integrates all aspects of operations for consistent communications. Supply chain management solutions not only monitor standard operations, but allow for accelerated decision making throughout the chain when customized requests present themselves.
Hall said the key to addressing inefficiencies in the supply chain is to eliminate early customization and differentiation so the product is maintained in its most basic form. The customized aspects can be applied further down the supply chain - during the final packaging steps - when there is more time for changes and flexibility to meet deadlines.