The key to being a modern supply chain manager
- The modern Supply Chain Manager
- Definition of Supply Chain Manager
- Challenges a Supply Chain Manager faces
- How technology can support a Supply Chain Manager's duties
- Modern Supply Chain Manager objectives
The modern Supply Chain Manager
Supply Chain Managers play an integral role in every manufacturing or distribution company, creating an efficiently functioning supply chain operation. Want to know more about how this is done? Read on…
Definition of Supply Chain Manager
The role of the Supply Chain Manager goes hand in hand with the underlying processes of Supply Chain Management. Supply Chain Management (SCM) refers to both the physical flow of goods from place to place and the management and optimisation of information chains (e.g. management of order data). The flow of goods and information are equally important. A Supply Chain Manager is responsible for creating and maintaining an optimised network of customers and suppliers in their respective markets with the relevant products, commodities and services.
Challenges a Supply Chain Manager faces
A Supply Chain Manager’s main challenge lies in satisfying different stakeholders across an organisation. For starters, many departments have high dependencies on supply chain data to optimise their processes. For example, a Manufacturing Manager can plan production more precisely and efficiently if the Supply Chain Manager can give the exact timings of when each needed part or material will be in the warehouse.
In addition, many teams will look to the supply chain function to help balance costs through effective inventory control processes. For whilst cost reduction is likely to be high on the Finance Director’s priority list, the Purchasing team will want to ensure there is enough stock on hand to cover customer orders. The challenge the Supply Chain Manager faces is maintaining a high customer service level whilst controlling costs.
Increasing globalisation intensifies these challenges because it results in more complex and longer supply chains. Each link of the chain must work together perfectly with the next. If a single link fails or interrupts the supply chain, there can be huge negative consequences across the entire business.
How technology can support a Supply Chain Manager’s duties
The Supply Chain Manager’s goal is to establish an optimal exchange of data, information and materials among departments, by creating a transparent and efficient supply chain. To do so, a proactive and agile approach and appropriate processes and tools are more important than ever!
With supply chain digitalisation, processes and tools are constantly evolving. The Supply Chain Manager needs to evaluate not only what systems are best for their company internally, but also what their supply chain partners utilise, because compatibility with suppliers, distributors and customers is equally important.
One of the core tasks of the Supply Chain Manager is inventory management and optimisation. A company can only operate successfully if the correct products and materials are in the appropriate places at the right time and in sufficient quantities. Automating processes such as demand forecasting, stock management and replenishment execution is therefore critical to an efficient operation.
Modern Supply Chain Manager objectives
A Supply Chain Manager sets their goals based on the challenges and tasks they face, but the software used is also of significant importance. It’s almost impossible for the modern Supply Chain Manager to reach their goals and grow the company without sophisticated software to measure, track and report on progress.
Every Supply Chain Manager will be judged based on how they lower costs and improve the supply chain through optimal processes and tools. Of course, quality and customer service should not be sacrificed to reduce costs. To revisit the inventory management example, the Supply Chain Manager should aim to always have the optimum quantity of an item in stock, enough to keep delivery reliability and customer satisfaction high, whilst avoiding excess inventory.
In summary, the main goal of any business is making the customer happy by delivering their ordered products or services as agreed. Every Supply Chain Manager plays a critical role in making this happen.