The New Year brings new challenges to supply chains


The New Year is now in full effect, and businesses need to remain diligent about hitting supply chain goals. This is especially true after witnessing a less-than-stellar 2011. For example, the high-tech supply chain should take a stronger focus on risk management policies after falling victim to the tsunami in Japan, the Thailand floods and the global economy's unpredictability, according to an EBN Online report.

While many organizations were frightfully unprepared for these types of events, the majority of them took the disasters as a wakeup call. Now, companies are integrating disaster recovery and business continuity into their supply chain management programs in order to be prepared if similar incidents happen in the future, the news source reported.

Interestingly, however, many of the high-tech organizations that were affected by these incidents were victims of their own designs, EBN Online noted. In a sense, the demand to be mobile and extend global reaches compounded the damages. Still, these trends of expansion, flexibility and mobility will not go away and instead will require supply chain management to become more dynamic, rather than simply being responsive to these incidents.

Dynamic supply chains should be all about end results. These include financial, tactical and strategic outcomes, with the financial and tactical coming from the organization's core strategy, which could be growth, speed or price competitiveness or superiority in the market, the news source noted. It can also come from customer service, which, believe it or not, is a major aspect of supply chain management.

Nevertheless, the ability to expand a supply chain across global borders has cost companies large initial investments but will help reduce complexities in the long run, EBN Online reported.

One thing that businesses are likely to do in 2012 is improve visibility by using new technologies, according to an IGD report. The use of new services will accelerate, leading the supply chains that utilize these solutions to the best of their ability to keep pace and stay ahead of the competition.

New challenges emerge for supply chain manager every day and will continue to do so throughout 2012. Companies will need to improve transparency while matching goals related to customer satisfaction, employee efficiency and product quality in order to be successful this year.