Essential Guide

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The essential guide to supply chain management best practices

Our guide to supply chain management can help companies cut through the confusion about the best ways to achieve goals, such as internal and external supply chain alignment and the steps required for an omnichannel strategy.


Supply chain management is truly a team sport, where the ultimate goal is getting product to customers where and how they want it. Winning this game involves a lot of agile footwork, but it also requires ditching the "I can win the game alone" mentality. Each player must work together -- especially to deal with the unexpected. Strategy is crucial. And the latest tools and technology can help gain a competitive edge.

Indeed, today's supply chain management best practices are about crafting a vision of both the whole picture and the supporting actions needed to realize it. That takes working together across departments within the company and across supplier networks. Goals such as a successful omnichannel strategy, supply chain visibility and sustainability are perfect examples of achievements that are impossible without a high degree of orchestration and collaboration.

A well-oiled supply chain also increasingly incorporates sophisticated technology. From the connectedness of digital manufacturing and a digital supply chain, to analytics and internet of things (IoT) technology that can enable greater insight and visibility -- not to mention the ability to deal with disruptions -- like it or not, technology has become a differentiator and, for some, a way to catch up.

Many experts believe that trend will only continue. But none of that negates the need for a solid supply chain management strategy.

This guide to supply chain management best practices is meant to give you greater insight into all of these areas. It contains practical advice on tools, tips and other essentials you need to achieve business goals -- and to achieve big wins.

1Demand management-

How to approach omnichannel, inventory and demand challenges

One of the top forces affecting supply chain management today is the need to find an omnichannel strategy that works. The goal of giving customers a seamless in-store and online shopping experience affects every part of the supply chain, from sourcing to product delivery, and especially impacts processes like inventory and demand management.


Cornerstones of an omnichannel strategy

It's almost certainly true that your company needs omnichannel capabilities. Here are four ways to get strategic. Continue Reading


Consider S&OP for help with demand management

Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain management are about recognizing and satisfying demand. Here's what you should know about sales and operations planning, where all that comes together. Continue Reading


How to use MRP to reduce inventory levels

After a materials resource planning system implementation, companies may unexpectedly find themselves with higher inventory levels. Here's how to change that. Continue Reading

2Internal supply chain-

Supply chain best practices from the inside out

Creating a holistic approach to supply chain management and enabling a collaborative mindset starts inside the company. From procurement to sales, each department is critical to success. But that success rests on the entire internal supply chain working together. One factor that inadvertently sabotages collaboration is the wrong reward system. Incentive systems must recognize the need to work together, or people will not feel they can do so.


How to create internal supply chain alignment

An efficient and integrated supply chain starts inside the company. Here are some best practices to foster supply chain collaboration and success. Continue Reading

3Getting the macro view-

External supply chain functionality

In a very real sense, the competition among companies is a competition of supply chains. Efficient movement of goods and materials depends on complex interdependencies working well together, and that requires information. IoT, analytics and even traditional technology, such as ERP all play a role in surfacing and using information to gain real insight.


Secrets of a successful IoT-enabled supply chain

The use of IoT technology is a major trend in supply chain management. Yet, using the internet of things effectively is about far more than putting some sensors on machines. Here are five best practices you need to get right. Continue Reading


Important advice on crafting a supply chain visibility strategy

Supply chain visibility provides a number of benefits, including helping you predict and deal with disruptions, but getting it is not easy. To help, experts weigh in on the bumps along the road and the supply chain visibility tools you might need. Continue Reading


Seven essentials to help you create an effective traceability program

Supply chain traceability gives you the power to pinpoint problem sourcing and enables sustainability efforts, and those are just two benefits. Here are seven essentials you'll need in your strategy. Continue Reading


How to create supply chain sustainability

Sustainability is critical to your brand image, compliance and other markers of success. Here are eight keys to help unlock the best strategy for your company. Continue Reading


How to choose the best supply chain analytics

If you're researching supply chain analytics systems, you likely have plenty of questions. Here's advice on two domains -- operational and strategic -- you'll need to understand. Continue Reading


How you should approach IoT and analytics

Here's a look at why IoT and analytics can enable better supply chain visibility, and advice on how to think about these technologies strategically. Continue Reading

4The house of cards factor-

Suppliers, collaboration and risk

The supply chain is an intricate web of interdependencies, and supply chain management best practices recognize the threat of a disruption -- one against which companies must have a well-developed strategy. At the center of this is a collaborative relationship with suppliers and other partners.


How supply chain partners can create IoT success -- together

Instead of taking a lone-wolf, piecemeal approach to IoT adoption, supply chain partners can instead work together in a coordinated fashion to improve the supply chain more efficiently. Continue Reading


Why supply chain partners should share data

Supply chain partners are more likely to achieve success together if they use analytics in an orchestrated way. Here's information that can set you down that road. Continue Reading


How to think about dual sourcing

Dual sourcing can be a helpful way of dealing with supply chain complexity and potential disruptions -- but don't make the mistake of thinking it only has benefits. Continue Reading


Seven factors to consider in your supply chain risk strategy

Today's supply chains are highly complex, which makes doing a risk assessment even more difficult. To help, here are seven areas you'll need to factor into your strategy. Continue Reading

5Supply chain glossary-

Important terms related to supply chain management

Demonstrating excellence in supply chain management best practices requires a firm grasp of the terms, particularly newer ones. Here are some that you should know.

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