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5 Focus Areas for Supply Chain Managers in 2013

California-based Freightgate team is suggesting that in 2013, supply chain managers will stringently focus on five critical areas, namely – ‘sustainability, visibility, predictive analytics, innovation and partnerships'.



  • Sustainability


Business leaders will focus on best-in-class solutions to meet progressively more challenging customer requirements.

In 2013 business leaders will continue struggling with diverse supply chain challenges ranging from spend management, visibility, business intelligence, to the growing complexity of optimising rate and surcharge management with delivery performance. Supply chain flexibility and logistics responsiveness adapting to volatility and competitive pressures coupled with meeting customer requirements will create a keen focus to find best-in-class solutions that will drive and enhance supply chain sustainability.


  • Visibility


The quest for cycle time reductions and dynamic lead times driven pricing, will drive renewed focus on end-to-end supply chain visibility.

As supply chains grow more complex in global dimensions, participant size, and sensitivity to localised disruptions, companies will require more robust end-to-end supply chain visibility to enable better global risk management. Traditional low-tech tracking and tracing software will need to be replaced with dynamic cloud-driven dashboards.

Supply chain directors will empower their logistical analysts with S&OP and risk management tools – to manage decision-making within the execution window at each and every juncture of their supply chain. Capacity management, forecasting and contingency planning will play an important role in operating a lean supply chain. Businesses are integrating cloud-based platforms to afford better visibility, flexibility, and responsiveness.


  • Predictive Analytics


Business Intelligence will help manage every aspect of supply chain and logistics management.

While ‘Big Data’ seems to be everywhere, Thought Leaders will focus on timely Predictive Analytics. Supply Chain executives are faced with the challenges to capture, store, search, sharing, analysis and the visualisation of large and complex data sets. In complex and dynamic supply chains meaningful data segmentation and classification will emerge and people will realise the true value of current information on inventory in transit or possible shipping delays augmented with macro trends on rates, transit times or capacity.

The ability to make timely decisions based on available data is crucial to business success. Business intelligence will move toward flexible hybrid models of real-time information correlated with data mining, scenario planning and forecasting to provide more informed supply chain decisions with the ability to improve process and resource optimisation, spot business trends and patterns, identify risks and opportunities, and track performance metrics.


  • Innovation


Thinking ‘Outside the Box’ will become a valued asset to drive supply chain cost savings with improved performance.

Supply chain and logistics executives have journeyed the long-winding road through freight management, experimented with costly home-grown TMS systems, been involved with labour-intensive RFPs, and some have outsourced processes with mixed results.

When all is said and done, the Holy Grail is a supply-chain driven by total-value. In 2013, business leaders must become more innovative to juggle the quest for profitability while they assimilate the demanding pressures to provide more solutions to meet varying and specific customer demands. Customer demand and public perception will have to be valued and added to the equation escalating the need for customised logistics solutions. Both price and innovation will be important evaluation factors in designing supply-chains and the award of contracts.


  • Partnerships and Integration


Supply Chains are becoming too brittle to external factors to handle frequent unplanned changes; bringing the need for an elastic dynamic design that relies on trusted partners to the forefront.

Shippers, transportation carriers, logistics and software solution providers are beginning to realise that in order to create an elastic and robust supply chain forming partnership and teaming together is a better route than trying to be the ‘king of the road.’ That meant depending on scope, single sourcing philosophies with all eggs in one basket is unlikely to return.

Everyone can benefit to increase revenue, profitability without increasing costs. There will be more initiative-driven partnerships and ‘vested’ outsourcing as service excellence backed by real-time information becomes a core and strategic priority.

Cloud Technology and new open standards such as EFM unlocks a new age of collaboration and competitiveness – giving every business equal opportunity to participate in global markets with costs savings and productivity benefits.


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