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Explosives disruptions from weather, commodity shortages, price volatility, and shifts in buying behavior are examples in the challenges of supply chains in the pursuit of profit.

Add to these events, what I’d call is the Amazon effect.

The Amazon effect transcends from business-to- consumer to business-to-business, such as for self-service and instant pricing options that are now expected by customers.

So often dramatically, your supply chain continues to change as the result of innovations in technology in the digital-age economy.

Many changes seem to occur too fast.

All of this has made it challenging to cope with changes in channel structures, customer preferences, and globalization.

But not all challenges are external. For instance, a department computer system might be using technology that’s been recalled.

Only if the department has access to data science will there be enough warning to anticipate and prevent problems.

Speed is another factor. Supply-chain pros have to be able to respond with reliability and correctness across all channels.

Actually, many supply-chain professionals employ tools they believe will work.

But do they effectively deal with their obstacles to protect their operations, stay agile and insulated for performance?

The key is to stay vigilant with alertness to fast-moving trends and to strategize for the best options for your company’s culture and objectives.

If you’re able to do this, you’ll position your supply chain for your company’s long-term sustainability and maximum competitiveness.

But the key is to know how.

Here are 10 leading principles:

1. Leadership

To lead the effort, you must ascertain the best skill sets for the roles, responsibilities and for your culture.

2. Identify core competencies

Establish the best business processes and focus on them. But be ready to outsource the other functions.

3. Coaching

Certainly, education is important. Coach all your supply-chain stakeholders to be on the same page. That includes all departments in your organization and all associations along your supply chain.

4. Scale for competition

Fully monitor your situation – how your company can execute for success and how your competitors work.

5. Evaluate

It’s important to accurately understand all elements in your supply-chain links.

6. Rank according to data

Exploit all the data to classify and select the right targets to enrich your supply-chain capabilities.

7. Solve weak links

To drive performance, you must be alert to the weakest links.

8. Collaborate

To prevent negative surprises, your supply-chain stakeholders must communicate well. Like a stellar media company that reports the news, you must understand the factors involving who, what, when, where and why.

9. Partnerships

You should identify the right partners. Make sure they’re positioned to partner with you for the desired results.

10. Continuous improvement

For supply-chain excellence, you must develop an ongoing process that leads to excellence and performance.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related sources of information:

Supply Chain Management: 6 Tracking and Expediting Tips — With consumers expecting more merchandise at a faster rate, retailers and suppliers are increasingly under pressure. From supplier to manufacturer to retailer and logistics, there are keys to optimal supply-chain management.

Best-Practices in Protecting Your Supply Chain from Natural Disasters — As a manufacturer, you know the importance of protecting your supply chain for your company’s future. So you might be interested in an academic study — lessons from the earthquake that resulted in a tsunamis and nuclear catastrophe in Japan.

How Your Supply Chain Can Make Customers Happy — A company that fails to meet customer expectations on store inventory and delivery has problems in supply chain management. Such a company minimizes its profits. Worse, it’s a red flag about competitiveness and long-term sustainability.

10 Execution Values to Guarantee Your Strategic Plan Works — Many companies devote resources to devise a great strategic plan. But they fail in their objectives because they don’t link their strategy to execution. So here’s how.

Winter Security Tips for Your Transport Facility and Drivers — Criminals don’t hibernate like bears in the winter. Winter presents opportunities for criminals’ unscrupulous desires. To protect your products in the warehouse or distribution facilities and drivers on the road in snowy months, there are several important precautions to implement.

“Gentlemen, the officer who doesn’t know his communications and supply as well as his tactics is totally useless.”  

-General George S. Patton


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.