There is no longer any debate regarding the far-reaching, and disruptive impact that e-commerce has had on retail business models, and the supply chains that support them. As traditional retailers attempt to retain market share by introducing companion e-commerce sites, the approach adopted when doing so can ultimately have a marked impact on the success of such venture down the road.
The latest hot topic within the supply chain lexicon is Control Towers. The name itself evokes images of air traffic controllers keeping a sharp eye over air traffic, and indeed the concept is very similar. Croydon Airport was the first to introduce an Air Traffic Control Tower in the 1920’s so that it had a literal birds-eye view of flights so that the airport could better support pilots and ground crew and mitigate the risk of accidents. The concept quickly caught on and evolved to the highly technical discipline we know today.
Traditional pharmaceuticals are changing – the generics market continues to gain market share and advances in nanotechnology, stem cell research and other medical technologies are beginning to impact the production of mainstream medication. Consumer demand trends, changing legislation and geographic dispersion of patients are all changing the face of the industry, and indeed demanding the supply chain evolve with, if not ahead of, such market demands.
The Oxford Dictionary defines excellence as the quality of being outstanding or extremely good, and John W. Gardner said: “Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well”. When it comes to supply chain, excellence is an ideal most organisations strive for, but within the supply chain world, the definition of excellence is harder to express. On a very simple level – supply chain excellence is encapsulated in the oft-repeated phrase – “delivering the right product, in the right quantity, to the right people, at the right place, at the right cost, every time”. While this phrase rolls off the tongue quite easily, achieving this utopia of supply chain performance is slightly more difficult.
As industries become more and more commoditised, there is a growing understanding that value is not necessarily intrinsic to the product sold, but in the manner in which this product is brought to market. Such commoditisation has resulted in organisations seeking opportunities to create competitive advantage through various partnerships, be it through outsourcing non-core functions to niche support organisations, or manufacturing bases in geographies that offer low costs per item produced. Globalisation has indeed created a one-world market and increasing digitisation is building an economy where the location of services is no longer as relevant as the value such create.