Things change. But change, while often good, usually also means additional work. In our current economic climate, we have to achieve more with less. Increasing our efficiency and productivity becomes a top priority.
Many companies focus on supply chain optimization as discussed in ProcurementLeaders. KPMG noted that consumer companies worldwide report that “improvements in supply chain efficiency are critical to growth strategies with 50% of respondents intending to improve distribution structure, invest in technology, decrease inventory and consolidate suppliers”. Most low-hanging fruit have been picked and companies have to get more creative to optimize the supply chain. How? Optimizing the forecast and then lowering inventories for example. Re-shoring and thus lowering the logistics cost and inventories (again!) is another option to drive cost out of the supply chain. With the Chinese labor rates and currency rising at 17% per year, the US is becoming competitive for some manufacturers.
Another significant aspect in cost and strategic growth initiatives is information technology (IT) investment. More than 70% of respondents plan on investing in “IT systems for customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, business intelligence and forecasting”. One way to achieve this is document control software that automates workflows, moves documents electronically and allows for complete version traceability of specifications, contracts, drawings, etc. And when was the last time that you updated your IT infrastructure? Do your systems have the uptime required to support your operations and allow you to ship on time? Do you use ERP and CRM systems that are tailored to your company’s specific needs? Customize where you can to reduce the redundancies in your systems. It will free your employees up for productive work and reduce your bottom-line.