10 best practices you should be doing now

Doing what you've always done is no longer a good excuse for not expanding your best practices in Supply Chain. The economic environment demands growth in even the most inhospitable situations. Bob Engel argues in this article that your supply chain must be “best in class” – but getting to that point can take quite a bit of work. He lists 10 best practices that can help you reach the highest levels of control and optimization in your supply chain. The list includes:

  • Establish a governing supply chain council
  • Properly align and staff the supply chain organization
  • Make technology work for you
  • Establish alliances with key suppliers
  • Engage in collaborative strategy sourcing
  • Focus on total cost of ownership (TCO), not price
  • Put contracts under the supply chain functionOptimize company-owned inventory
  • Establish appropriate levels of control and minimize risk
  • Take “green” initiatives and social responsibility seriously
One of the most important points Engel makes is the value of getting your team trained and prepared for your supply chain updates. Without having a team behind the effort, it's doomed:

Whatever structure you adopt, correctly staffing the supply chain organization is vital to success. Elevating staff members' supply chain management skills and knowledge is always a priority, of course. But top leadership focuses more on strategy and is less concerned about transactional ability. As supply chain leaders move up to join their companies' management teams, therefore, they must have additional characteristics. Best-in-class companies hire supply chain managers who have strong communication and relationship management skills (both internally and externally), the ability to think strategically, and a focus on value creation. If, however, you feel as though you already have a best practices plan that doesn't need to be changed, consider this list a check-point: are you hitting the major elements of what Engel suggests? If not, are you putting your supply chain at risk without knowing?

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