The key to successful supply chain management is recognising that it’s people who really drive the living supply chains that are at the heart of businesses. In this article, Dr. John Gattorna, author of Dynamic Supply Chains: delivering Value Through People, 2nd edn, FT Prentice Hall, Harlow, 2010, gives an overview of what he calls Dynamic Alignment: the principle of matching changing customer needs and desires with different supply chain strategies.
One thing is for sure. We are going to have to radically change our ideas about the design and operation of enterprise supply chains if we are to break the shackles and get to the next level of operational and financial performance in the immediate year ahead. This is not an option; it is mandatory. In essence, the world has changed so much over the last 15 years that conventional methods are no longer sufficient. The world of markets has become much more volatile, and under such conditions the old assumptions no longer stand up to scrutiny.
The way forward is there for all to see. We must cast off all the denial and come to terms, finally, with the notion that it is people (and their behaviour) that drives supply chains. All others are just enablers. So it is necessary to look at the problem of designing and operating tomorrow’s supply chains by examining three areas of human activity along typical enterprise supply chains, and all enterprises have supply chains.
1. We must re-interpret the marketplace, and look for ways to understand and codify what customers (and consumers) are telling us when they set out to buy products and services;
2. We must do likewise at the supply end of the channel, and look for new ways to understand the underlying capabilities and expectations of the suppliers we draw on for raw materials, components, sub-assemblies, and packaging;
3. And finally, we must learn much more about the internal cultural capability in our businesses, represented by the employees, management, and leadership.
If we are able to ‘align’ all three of the above described components of the supply chain, we will achieve a quantum improvement in bottom-line results through improved service levels and satisfaction at both ends of the supply chain, and lower cost-to-serve through improved internal configurations.