When most people think of supply chain management, they envision a stockroom manager who processes inventory and deals with vendors. Sure, the role of a stockroom manager is vital in any company that sells products, but SCM goes beyond just managing warehouse inventory. In today’s digital world, supply chain management is a field that touches almost every part of the business world. As a result, everyone has a stake in how well the supply chain runs, from manufacturers to wholesalers and sellers.
The challenge is coming up with supply chain management project ideas that are unique and innovative. Whether you are looking to advance your career or learn new skills as a hobby, learning how to implement supply chain management projects is not easy. However, with the right information and resources, it isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Here are some tips on how to master the art of SCM and implement innovative supply chain management project ideas in your work or home life.
What is the SCM project?
An SCM (supply chain management) project is a collaborative effort to implement new methods or processes to streamline the supply chain. As a result, it increases efficiency, streamlines workflow, and reduces costs.
These initiatives require in-depth research before beginning so that they are implemented successfully and with minimal setbacks. They often have a specific goal or outcome, such as reducing inventory, increasing customer satisfaction, or reducing costs. These projects may last for several months and involve extensive planning and research. There are many different types of SCM projects that an organization may choose from when beginning its initiative. Each type of SCM project has its challenges and best practices.
A successful supply chain management implementation involves:
- Obtaining buy-in from all relevant stakeholders
- Creating an implementation plan
- Developing metrics for success
- Establishing a formal review process post-implementation
Recent Trends in Supply Chain Management
Supply chain resilience
Supply chain reliance is in the buzz post-pandemic. eCommerce businesses and SMBs have learned the need to mitigate disruption and limit the adversities of unforeseen disasters for businesses. Therefore, businesses will need supply diversification, finding alternatives, agile solutions, and reliable data to bring resilience.
Advanced analytics and automation
The pursuit of robotics, big data, AI, and predictive and prescriptive analytics by businesses will have broad-reaching effects. Traditionally, there were loopholes and a lack of efficiency in the supply chain resulting in high costs, late deliveries, etc. Automation brings high transparency and efficiency to the process.
Internet of Things
The internet of things (IoT) is a digital network of physical objects powered by a wireless network that is connected and accessible at the fingertips. The concept of IoT is already widely used in the supply chain, mainly in logistics, and is expected to continue. For example, IoT is used in inventory management, fleet tracking, and warehouse management, pointing.
Traditionally, businesses fail to pinpoint the inefficiency within the supply chain causing unsatisfied customers. Tracking and visibility in the supply chain are crucial. It helps identify the loopholes and areas to improve and understand the process’s bits.
Currently, we’re experiencing a trend where businesses are turning customer-centric from profit-centric. Finally, we understand the meaning of ‘customer is king. This is because customers have too many options and high CAC. Building a supply chain that will enable fast last-mile delivery to the customers will be an equation to crack for businesses.
Use of artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is used to build smart warehouses, automate the fulfillment process, and reduce human error. Combining human and artificial intelligence is the key to technology-led innovation in supply chain management.
What are the topics in supply chain management?
Inventory management is a hot topic in supply chain management than ever before, as customers demand the product available at the moment. Inventory management is the strategic practice of having the right amount of inventory available to meet the demand of customers in the present as well as in the future.
Recent studies show alarming data that negatively impact our environment. If we could do anything to save our existence, now is the time. To reduce carbon footprints, businesses are claiming certain sustainability standards. Their supply chain is uniquely positioned in it, as the logistics sector is the prime contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Executives are trying to achieve supply chain sustainability through cloud technology and automation.
In recent years, businesses have been bombarded with unforeseen disruptions leading to business vulnerability and fragmented supply chains. The lack of a robust supply chain risk management process puts businesses at high operational expenses. Therefore, rather than admiring difficulties, tackling them with a structured process and addressing known risks is the way to achieve supply chain resilience and risk management.
Enterprise resource planning
Companies utilize ERP in planning and managing current and future uncertainties. As a result, the global enterprise resource planning market revenue is on track to hit $78.4 billion by 2026. The ERP platform encompasses inventory management, manufacturing, logistics, sourcing and procurement, and all other company businesses.
What are the 7 Rs of the supply chain?
The supply chain manager must know which market is flourishing and which is declining, as demand is equally proportional to supply chain management. Therefore, identifying which product is in demand and its sustainability is the basis of the supply chain.
The right product must be sent to the right place. Identifying the right consumer market for your product is another important factor in a supply chain. The supply chain manager must develop an efficient logistics network that enables last-mile delivery to the market and also get a response from the market towards your product.
Pricing of a product could make or break a product’s sale. The right product price is what customers do not hesitate to spend and incur profits for the company. Therefore, you should execute thorough market research, identify consumers’ capacity for expenditures, and check competitors’ pricing to set the right price for your product.
It is the most important ‘R’ in a supply chain. Identifying the right customers is fundamental to any business. Before launching the product, know your customers first, and identify their preferences, age group, purchasing power, and expectations for the success of your product.
Give utmost importance that your product should be delivered to the customers in the right conditions. Delivering faulty products breaks customers’ trust in your brand, which is hard to regain. Use reliable logistic carriers who assure the safe delivery of your products to customers.
The attention span of people is less than a goldfish. Customers want their products fast, and they tend to pay extra for them. Last-mile delivery of products to customers builds trust and long-term relationships. Therefore, a logistics process is necessary to deliver products in real-time.
Keeping the right quantity of products reduces management costs and other expenses. In addition, inventory management in the supply chain helps forecast demand and bring efficiency to the supply chain.
Eight Key Supply Chain Process
Customer relationship management
Identifying the customers creates value for the supply chain, which is the first and essential part of supply chain management. In this process, the right customers are identified for the product, and their demands and preferences are satisfied by the product.
Supplier relationship management
Nurturing the relationship with suppliers is as important as relationships with customers. A healthy relationship with suppliers is a win-win situation for both the supplier and the business. First, it is identifying the right supplier who delivers products according to your specifications and on time. A good relationship with suppliers enables continuous supply delivery even in a crisis.
Customer service management
Customer service management sounds similar, but it is different from customer relationship management– the process of acquiring customers. Customer service management focuses on interacting with customers and solving and upscaling their experiences with the product. It looks like customer support, giving discounts, etc.
Product demand management in the supply chain answers to how much product needs to be produced. Staying updated with the demand for your products in the market helps reduce unwanted expenses in the business. Demand management acts as a thin line that brings efficiency to the supply chain. If the product production is less and the demand is high, you are missing the opportunity to increase profits. Similarly, if the product production is inflated than the demand, your business will incur the high cost of inventory management, warehouse management, logistics, etc.
Order fulfillment is the path between supplier level and warehousing to the customer’s doorstep. It starts with receiving a purchase order from the customer, packaging it, and delivering it to the customer. The gravity of quick fulfillment has risen in recent years because customers want their orders just in time.
Manufacturing flow management
It is managing all the activities that enable the movement of products through the manufacturing plant and managing flexibility in the supply chain.
Product development and commercialization
This process of supply chain management includes market research and identifying the unfulfilled demand of the customers for the development of new products and advertising it. Product development and commercialization enable a seamless flow of new products from suppliers to the end customer.
Return management covers reverse logistics, gatekeeping, product returns, and other activities related to returns. The goal is to identify the loopholes in the process causing returns and successfully control them to reduce the return rate.
Supply chain management might be an interesting subject for entrepreneurs, and their projects are worth learning and upskilling. A well-maintained and structured supply chain management ensures a seamless business flow, from supplier to the end consumer. Another critical subset of the supply chain is logistics, and if you’re a beginning eCommerce, the complexity of logistics may haunt you. Thankfully, there are logistics aggregators like NimbusPost, which help eCommerce businesses solve all-inclusive logistics problems.