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  1. 19 Tested Areas to Seek Supply Chain Best Practices
  2. These supply chain best practices are shown in list below:
  3. GLOBAL LOGISTICS / SUPPLY CHAIN BEST PRACTICES - To Support and Drive Business Success and Trends
  4. 19 Tested Areas to Seek Supply Chain Best Practices

Since the global financial collapse in , most chief executives have focused on cost reductions, which they expect will translate to reduced prices. Put contracts under the supply chain function.

19 Tested Areas to Seek Supply Chain Best Practices

Purchasing and procurement teams often negotiate significant potential savings during the sourcing process but never fully realize those savings. The reasons for this vary, but they often include a failure to communicate contract terms to the affected organizations and a failure to monitor contract compliance.

All too often, in fact, the executed contract is filed away in some drawer and forgotten. This is no exaggeration; several years ago, the research firm Aberdeen Group asked supply managers the following question in a survey: Twothirds of the respondents stated, "We can't even find the contracts, much less manage them. More companies are moving responsibility for contract management to the supply chain organization rather than leaving it in purchasing, legal, finance, or operations. One benefit of this shift is that it ensures the contracts are collected and maintained in a central repository.

The migration of the contract management function to the supply chain organization also allows the supply chain leader to more effectively leverage the company's spend, particularly in the area of services, where there is a great opportunity for cost reduction and risk mitigation. The global economic downturn means that more chief financial officers have put inventory on their radar screens, and their financial teams are constantly looking for new ways to improve the bottom line and reduce working capital.

These supply chain best practices are shown in list below:

Supply chain organizations should therefore constantly review their inventory quantities and strive to keep them at an optimal level. It's no surprise that best-in-class companies are paying attention to inventory at the highest levels. The "real" cost of holding inventory often is higher than the generally assumed 20 to 25 percent. In fact, recent research reveals that inventory holding costs could represent up to 60 percent of the cost of an item that is held in inventory for 12 months. Those findings included the holding cost of insurance, taxes, obsolescence, and warehousing.

Poor planning and forecasting are direct causes of inventories that are out of balance with a business's needs. Accordingly, best-in-class companies also are placing more emphasis on demand planning and forecasting as an additional means of ensuring optimal inventory levels. Establish appropriate levels of control and minimize risk.

Choosing a Supply Chain Strategy

Supply chain management policies and procedures should follow an appropriate sequence and structure, and it is important to review them frequently if not constantly and bring them up to date. Keeping them realistic and easy to understand and follow will help to ensure compliance. It is certainly possible to go too far in establishing policies and procedures, however. That is why bestin- class companies periodically review their policies and controls to ensure that they are not creating bottlenecks.

Their objective is to streamline them without sacrificing the ability of those controls to deter theft, fraud, and other problems. Risk mitigation goes hand-in-hand with policies and controls, and best-in-class supply chain organizations integrate risk-mitigation methodologies into their sourcing decision process.

Final Thoughts

This is a complicated subject that we can touch on only briefly here, but in short, these organizations are adopting sound methodologies that include: Take "green" initiatives and social responsibility seriously. Reducing a supply chain's carbon footprint is no longer a "nice but not necessary" practice. It's likely that a carbon- trading regime will be established in the United States at some point. But here's another reason why best-in-class companies "go green": We're also seeing more and more requests for proposal RFPs that ask suppliers and service providers to provide information about their green initiatives.

Buyers and consumers are also considering social responsibility when making purchases. Social responsibility consists of a framework of measurable corporate policies and procedures that result in behavior designed to benefit the workplace, the individual, the organization, and the community. Social responsibility is playing an increasingly significant role in best-inclass supply management organizations' decisions, not just when it comes to purchasing but also in regard to risk evaluation.

Roadmap for relevance The 10 best practices described above do not represent a complete list of every action that top-tier supply chain management leaders are engaging in now. This list does, however, provide some ideas and perhaps a roadmap for a supply chain organization that is striving to be viewed as valued and relevant to its parent company. Even if you already have implemented many of these practices, the insights and examples offered here will serve to validate your current strategy. And if you aren't taking all of these steps, then adding the remaining ones to your lineup will help you complete your transformation to a best-in-class supply chain organization.

After you comment, click Post. If you're not already logged in, you will be asked to log in or register. We Want to Hear From You! We invite you to share your thoughts and opinions about this article by sending an e-mail to? Correspondence may be edited for clarity or for length. Want more articles like this? Establish an appropriate and thoughtfully staffed supply chain structure.

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Ideally, your supply chain will be staffed and structured in a way that maximizes effectiveness as well as efficiency in order to bring the most benefit to your organization. Most organizations these days find that a centralized strategy, implemented by specialized managers in their various business units is the most optimal approach. Reportedly, this combination leads to more harmony between strategy and implementation, while also resulting in the best service.

In staffing your supply chain , you should be more focused on strategy than simply transactional ability with your top leadership.

GLOBAL LOGISTICS / SUPPLY CHAIN BEST PRACTICES - To Support and Drive Business Success and Trends

These leaders should extend this strategic thinking toward creating value using strong interpersonal skills such as communication and relationship management internally as well as externally. Identify areas where technology can help improve and streamline processes. Approximately 79 percent of supply chain enterprises surveyed worldwide fault manually driven processes as the cause for continued lack of supply chain visibility. Lack of visibility and another global concern, the uncoordinated nature of supply chain processes can be solved with the automation provided by technology: Overall, only 6 percent of companies report that they have highly automated end-to-end and cross-functional processes.

Instead, review processes that are producing below standard to determine areas where technology can help improve, and then select your software solutions to fit those needs.

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With appropriate technology in place, detailed reporting data will be more accessible and accurate to better inform the supply chain council for performance measures as well as strategic planning. Maintain healthy supplier relationships. An important indicator of success in this industry is the health of your supplier relationships.

19 Tested Areas to Seek Supply Chain Best Practices

These connections should be maintained and cultivated on an ongoing basis, beyond the finalization of your deal. The best supplier relationships are the ones with two-way communication between the buyer and seller. Your objectives should include mechanism s to maintain the health of your relationship, goals for continuing improvement and value, performance measurement and a platform for conflict resolution.

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