News and Press

2017 To-Do List for Supply Chain Managers

by LPS Insights, on February 20, 2017

supply chain manager checklist

2017 To-Do List for Supply Chain Managers

For the past three months, logistics and supply chain management pros have been weighing in on their predictions, crystal ball insights, and guesses around what we should all expect in 2017. We’ve been curating the best of these forecasts and sharing them with you on the LPS blog.


This week, we share the key takeaways from an article by Michael Gravier, associate professor of marketing and global supply chain at Bryant University, in an article he wrote for Industry Week magazine. Dr. Gravier brings to our attention “10 Supply Chain New Year’s Resolutions for 2017.”


Let’s break it down

  1. Monitor supply chain complexity—2016 saw a record number of recalls affecting huge global companies—VW and Samsung for example. The author suggests that “Processes and organizations need to be redesigned to simplify interactions.”
  1. Engage more with government—“Governments at all levels increasingly offer services and platforms to coordinate and facilitate supply chains, such as in Customs/Homeland Security, food safety, tracking ethical sourcing, etc. Smart supply chain managers will influence their destinies by engaging with government at all levels from local economic development to transportation and safety and labor safety, wages, and lifestyles,” he says.
  1. Write better contracts—The author says that it’s time for supply chain managers to look at their contracts to make sure they are “incentivizing the right behaviors within their companies.”
  1.  Be more transparent—With increasing scrutiny around safety and the environmental impact of consumer and industrial goods, it behooves companies to be open and “transparent about their supply chain practices.”
  1. Become more lean—“The past few decades saw a revolution in lean manufacturing. But that’s just the beginning,” asserts Dr. Gravier. Supply chains must be prepared to support the evolving practices of companies like Amazon and CVS. “Retailers will have to be able to change their inventory more quickly to survive, and all levels of the supply chain will have to become more ‘lean’ than ever to adapt quickly enough to customer demands.”
  1. Focus less on producing a product, and more on providing an experience— “Customers are no longer satisfied with taking on all the risk in a purchase experience,” says Dr. Gravier. What that means is the supply chain is inextricably linked to a product’s brand and quality. But keep this in mind says the author, “No matter how small a part you play in delivering that final experience, you will suffer just as much for a poor outcome.”
  1. Know what your workers are worth—“Automation is the future,” says the author and supply chain managers must be ready to embrace it. Labor is the number one expense in supply chains. Managers must look to automation to reduce costs and add value.
  1. Be ready for even more global trade—Even though a new administration is altering our landscape of trade partnerships, “On the whole, smart supply chain managers should count on the continued march of globalization.”
  1. Be a more inclusive leader—“The evidence shows that diversity is a smart strategy, with more diverse suppliers bringing new business and helping connect with customers in new ways.
  1. Embrace technology—“Embracing technology provides a powerful way to digitize the supply chain,” observes the author. Therefore, “supply chain leaders must recognize the inevitable, and embrace comprehensive digitalization policies.”

Read the entire article from Industry Week to learn more.


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