It wasn’t too long ago that outside of work, many of us were met with puzzlement when we mentioned the supply chain.
For better or worse, we rarely have to explain ourselves anymore: The past few challenging years have provided almost everybody with some degree of understanding of the difference that good, flexible, reactive supply chains can make. Which means now’s the time to discuss supply chain transformation for the years to come.
Today’s supply chain modelers have access to incredibly effective tools and network design solutions – but successful supply chain transformation requires more than just a technology supplier. New demands and shifting expectations mean you need the skillsets and insights and support a team that brings deep expertise and wide-ranging experience to the table.
What’s Changing – And What Can You Do?
When we look at supporting supply chain design, everything we do addresses one of three key pillars. There’s network design – infrastructure planning at a very strategic level. Then there’s operational design, which involves aspects such as scheduling and planning at the plant-by-plant distribution level. Finally, there’s custom optimization, where we look at market differentiators for clients and help them take advantage of those opportunities in the supply chain processes.
So where are today’s transformational opportunities unfolding? Resiliency is a huge consideration, for one. The more complex a supply chain gets, the more flexible and reactive its design needs to be. Sustainability is also creating growth in all sorts of industries that we serve, and it’s led to a demand for what could be called ‘near-sourcing’ your supply chain, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of hauling goods or components over long distances.
Addressing these issues to create a more resilient, sustainable and better-functioning supply chain takes experience across industries. It takes modern approaches. It takes enthusiasm and a passion for tackling problems in an environment that can change by the hour.
The Value of Diverse Experiences
Our team has seen a lot of supply chain transformations, and we’ve been through a lot of different situations – and that experience base is something we put to work for our clients every day. It’s tough finding that level of supply chain expertise these days, but we’ve done it. Not only that, we’ve assembled a team with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints who’ve built track records of success. Not just supply chain process and transformation experts, but people with keen analytical skills, engineers, and technologists.
One interesting thing about the supply chain is its consistency across industries. Because the same practices and principles apply, we can make a difference even in areas where we haven’t worked before. And it’s an eye-opening moment when you see the connection when someone in a chemical supply chain hears a solution delivered to a consumer supply chain, and they can absolutely relate to it.
We have people who’ve worked in supply chains since before you could get a degree in the subject – and we have newer team members who bring the latest in techniques and thinking. All of that comes together to deliver something powerful and valuable when we can go to a client and help them understand how they can achieve their work goals more efficiently or more easily, suggesting different methods. That’s the impact of having a team of people who can talk to supply chain directors and understand their vision and goals, but who also know how to communicate at the nuts-and-bolts level with the hands-on personnel who can describe their specific supply chain pain points. It helps make their transformational experience better – and they don’t have to go through a couple decades of supply chain design to get there.
They benefit from our experience, and we have a lot of fun doing it.
Really: We Love What We Do
A few of us here used to run cross-country in high school, and we’re familiar with a slogan that a lot of runners put on their T-shirts: “Our Sport is Your Sport’s Punishment.” In some ways, that’s how we feel about supply chain design: We picked a tough sport that we find fun.
We’re not afraid of supply chain complexity: We’ve built a lot of competency in it, and when we look at clients, we can see these blossoming supply chains that might have great people running them and really interesting and fun things to take on. So if they don’t quite know how to organize the data or look at things from a higher level view – because they’re so focused on getting through each day – we get excited because we see so many ways we can help them out.
And that frees them up and empowers them to focus on what they find fun.
We’re Building Tomorrow’s Supply Chains – Now.
There was a meeting we had awhile back where several of us sat around until almost midnight talking about a client’s supply chain problems – and most of us weren’t even working for that client. We were just enjoying the thought process and idea swapping and relishing the possibilities of helping this client improve their supply chain and make life easier for their employees.
Moments like that, we feel the pull of the future, and we know we’re ready to help people transform their supply chains for the next five or ten years. It’s a great time to be in supply chain, and we’re proud to be moving it forward.