It’s the People, Dr. Watson!
You can have the best of the products and the most loved brand but if your supply chain teams can’t deliver correct quantity of right products in the right condition at the desired time and lowest cost, the love of brand does not necessarily translate into the big moolah. What makes things worse is that the adverse impact of non-availability not only means loss of current sales but future sales as well.
While looking for supply chain solutions, an often overlooked area is talent managing the supply chain. For mid-size companies, there are two main challenges in hiring right talent to manage a modern supply chain
- Supply chains are seen as cost centres -> as a result compensation becomes a huge bottleneck
- Defining clear career progression for people in a small organization -> as a result attrition levels are very high
Supply chains are becoming a source of competitive advantage in a modern connected world. Some of the ways in which a modern digital supply chain is different from a traditional supply chain are:
- Multiple Order Sources: A typical brand today receives orders from 4-5 e-commerce channels, several teleshopping channels, traditional distributors, modern retail, multi-brand retail, company owned retail, franchisees, venue sales, liquidation vendors, etc.
- Multiple Systems: A brand today needs to manage their own ERP, multiple e-commerce catalogue management systems/PIMS, e-commerce seller panels, amazon seller flex, flipkart lite, etc. Even with integrations, each new system adds significantly to the complexity
- Multiple Warehouses: Even smaller brands need multiple stocking points to improve customer service and in addition improved visibility at Amazon or Flipkart require virtual warehouses within a warehouse. This needs regular inventory decisions to minimise working capital block
Having the right set of people who can manage this complexity and deliver meaningful results has become paramount. However, developing a talent pipeline requires a
- Constant focus on hiring the right capabilities;
- Training on the right tools & processes and
- Retaining by offering meaningful professional growth and financial incentives.
For a mid-size company supply chain talent is often low in the order of priority for the management and outsourcing warehousing to a manpower provider can further complicate the situation and is not a sustainable solution for an organization. A full suite of capabilities related to people, process and technology is required, which can be combined with company’s value proposition to deliver meaningful growth.
It is often not easy for most companies to build and continue to invest in these capabilities. Right supply chain partner who not only deliver these capabilities but also bring the market best practices to improve brand competitiveness can be a great tool for most companies to build a future proof supply chain.