Agile Project Management Solutions for Supply Chain Management | ALC Training News
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Running an agile supply chain is quickly becoming a necessity for modern businesses. It sounds simple on paper, but as most companies know, building agility into a supply chain doesn’t happen overnight. Here’s a look at some of the common challenges facing supply chain management, and how introducing an agile framework into the mix can provide simple solutions to complex problems.
Common challenges facing supply chain management
Despite how important, integrated and efficient supply chain management is, there are many challenges that businesses still face in today’s landscape. These key challenges can be broken down into the following.
Customers want their products quicker and at a better price. But keeping up with this demand isn’t always financially or logistically realistic for companies.
Due to the growing customer demands, companies are often forced to outsource to countries where their products can be produced at a cheaper cost. But this can complicate the supply chain and lengthen delivery times, and as companies become more global there’s an increasing pressure to adapt products to suit local markets.
Fast-changing market growth
Increasing your customer base to grow your business can be tricky. You have to keep up with trends, consistently innovate and create new products, and update features on existing products. What’s more, these products need to be of the highest quality, which often goes hand-in-hand with compliance. This means you need to constantly keep on top of trading and government policies, fees, and regulatory standards in the industry.
As the supply chain becomes more connected and digitised, cyber risks begin to present themselves. Keeping a supply chain secure is a growing issue as cyber threats can come from anywhere, whether it’s in emails, attachments, or even public Wi-Fi.
How agile supply chain management works
As consumer buying patterns rapidly change, supply chain management needs to change as well. The fact is, businesses need to be ready for this if they want to remain competitive. One method of doing so is through implementing agile working practices to improve customer satisfaction, project control and product quality and manage your supply chain
What is an agile supply chain?
The main drivers of an agile supply chain are speed, cost and delivery. Essentially, an agile supply chain is based on the increasingly sensitive demands of the consumer. It uses responsiveness, competency, flexibility and speed to better manage how well it works on a day-to-day basis, which is done using real-time data and information.
What are the benefits of an agile supply chain?
Perhaps most importantly, an agile supply chain helps businesses better respond to volatile markets and unpredictability. They’re built to be flexible, which means they can adapt to changes in the economy, changes in technology and changes in customer demands.
To break it down further, here’s what an agile supply chain can help with:
- Implementing mass customisation.
- Improving communications within your team.
- Allowing for more efficient planning and management.
- Operating with low inventory.
- Creating development techniques that decrease errors in production.
- Working towards timelines and budgets.
Want to become qualified in the world’s leading framework and certification for Agile Project Management? Sign up to our AgilePM® Foundation / Practitioner Combined course
4 tips for building agile supply chain management
Create an agile team
Building an agile team within supply chain management can help your business create products or services that better align with the needs of your customers. You’ll ideally need a group of multi-disciplinary employees who can not only create quickly, but also test and redevelop quickly.
Reward wins (and failures)
Experimentation is crucial in agile working methods. In many companies, to fail means to risk your career. But for a company that encourages agility in their supply chain management, failure should be seen as constructive.
Building agile supply management means encouraging teams not to fear failure, but to learn from mistakes, move on and focus on the bigger picture. So don’t just reward wins – reward failures too.
Be agile with supplier contracts
To meet the changing needs of the market, consider creating more flexible supplier contracts – for example buy-back contracts and zero-volume contracts. To harness the potential of the blockchain, which enables the use of bitcoin, you could also consider creating “smart contracts”.
It’s also important to promote the flow of information with suppliers and develop collaborative relationships with them. For example, you can create an e-hub that connects your company with the supplier via the internet.
Be more aware
There are a few ways to boost your supply chain awareness, which might include:
- Improving data capture through a stronger Transport Management System (TMS) – to see areas where your supply chain can improve.
- Carrying out regular SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.
- Using resources and expertise from all corners of the company – from the CEO to the entry-level employees.
Being aware also means being prepared. According to Hau L. Lee, it’s also important to draw up contingency plans and put together a team that knows how to put them into action.
Don’t work hard, work agile
Often the best way to implement agility into supply chain management is to have someone show you the ropes. This means mastering an agile framework such as Scrum.
At ALC Training,we have two outstanding courses to teach you how to optimise value, reduce total cost of ownership, deliver more frequently, and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your business.
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