Collaboration and sharing of information are vital to supply chain success. It is well known that information sharing allows companies to make better decisions, leading to improved resource utilisation and ultimately lower supply chain costs. Furthermore, better management of information will enable companies to be more responsive to customer demands.
An organisation's supply chain is perhaps it's greatest secret weapon when seeking to enhance customer satisfaction and improve profitability. Customers growing expectations and changing shopping behaviours are the main force behind a demand-driven supply chain. There is mounting pressure from an increasingly impatient customer base demanding products faster and cheaper, while at the same time expecting a decrease in lead times throughout the value chain.
Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda once said: “Development is about more than money, or machines, or good policies – it’s about real people and the lives they lead”. As our country grapples with economic transformation and growth, this quote is particularly relevant, highlighting the need for sustainable interventions and partnerships between corporate South Africa and other stakeholders. With economic growth forecast at a meagre 1%, unemployment at more than 26% and inflation hovering at the 5% mark, it has never been more important to foster entrepreneurship. With each viable business added to the marketplace, employment is created, and resources are utilised, adding to the national product and per capita income of a country.
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.