Building Visibility Visionary companies are building extended enterprises to best compete in the new Internet economy. An extended enterprise combines the Internet's power with new business structures and processes to eliminate old corporate boundaries and geographic restrictions. Networked supply chains create seamless paths of communication among partners, suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, and customers. Because of advances in manufacturing and distribution, the cost of developing new products and services is dropping, and time to market is speeding up.
This has resulted in increasing customer demands, local and global competition, and increased pressure on the supply chain. To stay competitive, companies must reinvent themselves so that the supply chain-sourcing and procurement, production scheduling, order fulfillment, inventory management, and customer care-is no longer a cost-based back-office exercise, but rather a flexible operation designed to effectively address today's challenges. The Internet is proving an effective tool in transforming supply chains across all industries. Suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, and resellers now work together more closely and effectively than ever. Today's technology-driven supply chain enables customers to manage their own buying experiences, increases coordination and connectivity among supply partners, and helps reduce operating costs for every company in the chain.
In the past, assets were a crucial component of success in supply chain management. In today's market, however, a customer-centric orientation is key to retaining competitive advantage. Using the Internet and any other resources available, develop a strategic plan for implementing a networked, flexible supply chain management system for a start-up company of your choice.
Research Netflix if you are unfamiliar with how start-up companies are changing the supply chain. Be sure that your supply chain integrates all partners-manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, carriers, and vendors-into a seamless unit and views customer relationship management as a key competitive advantage. There are several points to consider when creating your customer-centric supply chain strategy:
1. Taking orders is only one part of serving customer needs.
2. Businesses must fulfill the promise they make to customers by delivering products and information upon request-not when it is convenient for the company.
3. Time to market is a key competitive advantage.
4. Companies must ensure uninterrupted supply, and information about customer demands and activities is essential to this requirement.
5. Cost is an important factor.
6. Companies need to squeeze the costs from internal processes to make the final products less expensive. Reducing design-cycle times is critical, as this allows companies to get their products out more quickly to meet customer demand.