?Using supply chain consultants as advisors on strategic cost reduction and how to
create competitive advantage is becoming a requirement rather than a nice-to-have
intervention. Most successful companies have tackled making savings in conventional
ways such as achieving economies of scale, leveraging their purchasing and making
obvious process improvements but they are finding that this is not enough.
Supply chains are becoming more complex all the time as the global business
environment is constantly changing. To stay competitive firms need to move fast to
keep ahead and innovative companies are looking deep into their supply chain
structures, relationships and workflows to find long-term cost reduction solutions. For
this they need help.
So here are some of the potential areas supply chain consultants can demonstrate
Sustainability and green issues
Supply Chain Integration
Using the right technologies
Technology is an enabler, not an end in itself. Advances in I.T software can provide
solutions to problems that were previously too challenging for non-experts to tackle
such as planning and demand management through to execution and asset
Supply chain experts and consultants use statistical and analytical tools applying the
relevant technology to develop workable solutions. One aim is to integrate various
disparate supply chain functions by streamlining the processes. An example of the
successful application of technology to warehousing, inventory and logistics is the use
of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), a data collection technology that uses
electronic tags for storing data. It can also be used to track humans!
Many supply chain consultants have alliance partnerships with leading vendors of I.T
solutions and ERP systems and some specialize by industry sector. Clients rely on
their ERP partners for supply chain advice and require them to develop customized
Using the right tools
However, sometimes clients need their supply chain consultants to provide informed
and impartial advice. Consultants need to devise supply chain strategies based on an
organizations operations, resources, and other capabilities and not design solutions
around the available technologies.
Analytical tools such as Six Sigma can detect defective processes and implement
remedies that can reduce costs and provide efficiencies. Lean manufacturing
techniques aim to eliminate waste and deliver better value for customers. The best
consultants have qualifications and experience in using these tools and can provide
quick results without major upheavals to the business.
Choosing the right supply chain consultants depends on the industry you are in, the
technology you use and your appetite for continuous improvement in the supply