Supply chain processes need to be treated as assets
Organisations need to view their supply chain processes as real assets rather than just a means to an end, a mindset change that will enable them to improve the consistency of service they deliver and reduce “re-inventing the wheel” in large enterprises.
This is the view of Marius Mare, consulting director at Ovations, the Johannesburg-based business transformation firm.
“If a company installs a manufacturing asset it takes proper ownership of it, registers the asset, assigns ownership, trains its staff on it, and conducts regular maintenance on it,” points out Mare.
“In the same way, companies need to treat their hugely important supply chain processes as owned assets that contain intellectual property, warrant business ownership, complete documentation, regular maintenance and require rigorous controls to be implemented.”
Due to their day-to-day association with risk and compliance issues, Mare believes companies in the financial services industry have better formulated their processes than their peers in many other industries.
“There is a strong need for companies across various industrial sectors to invest in their supply chain processes – these processes act as the glue between strategy and execution,” adds Mare.
In addition, he sees substantial scope for business process management principles to be applied across the supply chain. This could include automation of processes where it makes sense to increase consistency and improve process governance.
Importantly, he cautions, organisations looking to improve their supply chain performance must take a holistic view when it comes to finding solutions.
“This requires systems thinking, asking what impact one change or action will have on the rest of the supply chain cycle or on the organisation as a whole,” says Mare.
In the current uncertain domestic and global economic environment, he believes that agility is a major consideration for companies which have to be able to adapt swiftly to changing market conditions.
This requires the implementation of Service Oriented Architecture approaches to ensure that optimal use is made of technology, making it flexible and responsive, improve asset reusability, reduce costs and very importantly to reduce business risk and exposure.
“Technology is an important enabler in the supply chain environment, but it can’t be rigid as it has to able to be adapted and modified to meet changing requirements in a fast-moving business arena,” says Mare.
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