Supply Chain, The Backbone Of A Business

Shantha Martin, Chief Executive Officer, Pentagon GroupPentagon Group is known for maintaining international quality construction standards and also for its ethics, transparency, reliability, professionalism and reflexivity. Pentagon Group is bound to fulfill expectations of the Global Indian who expects only the very best.

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.' - Walter Elliot, this prominent Scottish politician saw the import-ant distinction between tactics and strategy.

Logistics involves successfully piecing together any number of moving parts into one working supply chain. Although it may look like one long process, supply chain managers need the patience to think in terms of both the end-to-end system and its constituent parts.

Emerging trends in supply change management has been largely driven by the incessant growth in businesses, by the reliance of one business on another and by the demands that are far-flung across geographies, deep into the hinterlands and traversing many barriers, in the backdrop of a globalised business complexities and more holistic move to `e-commerce'.

This driving force gets further amplified by the need to `Deliver upon promises made to customers' which requires real-time data for managing complexities such as digital solutions to map vendor performance and business intelligence to better understand customer behaviour.

Hence, for a logistics professional in real-time digital environment it is important to run `what if' scenarios and dig into any areas that give a pause for thought in terms of advance planning, which will help leverage the resources and capabilities of supply chain partners to create superior value and competitive advantage in the market place.

The evolving trends in global sourcing practices, multichannel routes to market and relationship-based innovation are transforming the business landscape along with performance improvements which has led to a high resolution of brand visibility, enhanced sales and profits and further the cause of innovative processes, setting of higher benchmarks in terms of best practices and relationship building amongst the stakeholders.
Integrating operations, management of materials and products, information and capitals into a well formatted supply chain is the new paradigm in organizing business lines. Hence, supply chain the mantel of `Backbone' ­ a valuable component of all business planning.

- The Current Scenario: The supply chain and logistics sectors are being transformed by several innovative solutions such as IOT (Internet of things), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Robotics and Automation, Digital Logistics Marketplace, Blockchains, On-demand technologies, Crowd shipping and more.

IoT provides visibility into the supply chain from the very first step of ordering the materials, to the end step of shipping them till it reaches the end customer or 3PL warehouses

Factors guiding the new trends in supply chain design and performance:

- Need for Advance Planning - Advanced demand planning systems help companies to create an efficient customer focussed mindset without sacrificing operational efficiency.

- The Globalisation of Business Landscape ­ This has brought with it ever complex and changing sociopolitical barriers to deal with. Hence a well thought of sup-ply chain network which can optimize the positive effects of the sociopolitical-economic flux and mitigate its negative effects is the call of the day to smoothen a cost-effective flow of materials through these "complex web of networks"

- Competition and Pricing Pressures ­ The focus should be at cost rationalization and creating an efficient value chain that will aid cost competitiveness and simultaneously provide value-added services to meet the demands of a varied set of customers.

- Outsourcing ­ The valuable idea of outsourcing has become a key to the efficiency of the supply chain. In this aspect supply chain is nothing but a "pooling in of various core competencies" of different partners along the supply chain, thereby bringing in manifold synergies and enhanced focus on one's own core capability, thereby bringing in enhanced value and reducing the pricing pressures. The challenge though remains here is a `quality-driven well synchronized and seamless chain of value partners' who can work briskly in tandem such that the promises made to the end customer can be fulfilled.

- Complex Product Life Cycles ­ The demands of the markets are to continuously develop innovative product; at the same time the efficiency would aim at minimizing the cannibalization of the existing products.

- Collaboration between Stake Holders ­ As supply chains continue to evolve there has been a move towards more intense collaboration between customers, suppliers and other peripheral stakeholders. This level of collaboration goes beyond linking information systems to fully integrated business processes and organizational structures.

The future holds good for businesses that seek to stay sustainable through accountability in terms of delivering to the customers/ stakeholders the values promised.

The focus herein is `Continuously monitoring the flux, staying abreast with the evolving machinery so as to align them with the business goals in order to stay ahead in competition' and at the heart of it all is innovation which continuously and consciously improves logistics efficiencies, reduces the level of environmental impact and enhances value generation rather than labour cost thereby creating long term sustainability.