Creating a Successful Network Design Starts with an Operations Strategy - Tompkins International

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Designing a Supply Chain Properly

There needs to be an operations strategy when designing a supply chain network. There are many things involved in designing a well oiled, effective, and profitable supply chain. A business must understand what functionality and performance is expected from the network design.

Customer expectations are changing as new sales outlets are being used. With the application of social media, omnichannel, and e-commerce customers now have more price options, available selections, delivery methods, and shopping experiences. The ability of a business to make the customer satisfied greatly depends on fulfillment capabilities. Progressive businesses have realized the critical nature the operations strategy has on designing a working supply chain.

There is no shortage of literature, education, training, webinars, and entire conferences devoted to the development and formulation of business strategy, as well as, the strategic planning that goes along with it. It is difficult if not impossible to come across any business that does not have some process in place for determining its products and its target markets. Until recently there has been little attention given to the strategies for “operationalizing” these business strategies. Several measures that need to be addressed while creating an operational strategy are; complexity, volatility, differentiation, sales and marketing channels, and the speed to act.

Supply chain network performance is very sensitive to changes in business strategy and
operating environments. Some of these changes include, market or sourcing changes,
acquisitions, new products, new sales channels, and growth. To maintain a competitive
advantage, the best companies have made network design an ongoing process as the company evolves. These companies are constantly tweaking and reinventing their networks and by doing this are realizing significant benefits. Designing an effective profit producing supply chain is an ongoing process that needs to change with the times.

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Andrea Epstein
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