A supply chain is made up of interconnected parts of a whole, all of which add up to finished products bought by customers. Take automobiles, for example. Before a consumer buys a car, iron ore is extracted from the earth. The ore is transported to a plant, where it’s turned into steel, which is made into the chassis of the automobile. To make the car, various components—from engines to batteries, electrical components, rubber tires, a metal body, and paint—are assembled. Once the car is made, it’s sold in a retail setting to the end consumer.
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Supply chain management (and operations, more broadly) is now a CEO-level concern. Some of the strategic operational questions that CEOs have on their agenda include the following:
Can we meet customer demand both today and tomorrow?
Should we boost capac...
Incremental efforts aren’t enough to capture the full potential, and drilling down into the right supply chain structure and physical footprints is a critical starting point.
Midsize supplier plants with 1,000 to 1,500 employees were nearly twice as likely as bigger or smaller counterparts...
Few established companies have fully digitized their end-to-end operations. But digitization can be a feasible solution to operational challenges seen across many compa...
While some leading organizations have already realized value from digitization, others are lagging behind. Modernizing supply chain IT—for instance, to improve demand forecasting and planning systems—can have a powerful effect. For organizations looking to step up on IT for supply chain planning,...
Quick responses are easier to accomplish, but if long-term resilience is the goal, the following techniques can help:
Supply chain disruptions lasting one month or longer occur every 3.7 years, on average. And these disruptions can ha...
Organizations often focus on managing the shocks that they see most often. The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that while outliers are rare, organizations still need to consider such possibilities when making decisions and strategic moves.
For most organizations, that will mean expanding s...
Supply chain shocks are classified into four different types:
Unanticipated catastrophes. These are historically remarkable events that can’t be anticipated and lead to trillions of dollars in losses.
Foreseeable catastrophes. Shocks in this categor...
Firefighting. This refers to short-term, day-to-day actions that can help identify previously overlooked supply chain gaps. These tactics don’t build resilience, however, so they should be used only in concert with more complex, long-term reforms.
Integrating and st...
Digitization, including advanced analytics, automation, and machine learning, can help operations become more productive, flexible, and geared for speed. Such approaches have yielded real results for some leading organizations—for example, reducing inventory and cost of goods sold by 30 percent, ...
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