Time to get real - or die

Most manufacturers, retailers and distributors are facing intense price wars and the threat of losing major customers has never...

Most manufacturers, retailers and distributors are facing intense price wars and the threat of losing major customers has never been more real.

Keith Bell

Soapbox

. This is amplified by the explosion of investment in e-commerce where arguably companies concentrate resources on front-end presentation to the detriment of ensuring back-end delivery.

Many businesses are fearful of the future because they are not very good at the basics - winning a larger market share and delivering customer orders on time all the time and at minimum cost. So what chance survival in a price war?

There is overwhelming evidence that emerging supply chain technologies save costs, improve customer service, increase sales volume, reduce stocks and shorten cash cycle times.

Companies really have little choice if they are to survive and prosper - they have to invest.

Failure to adopt best practice in the supply chain is generally far more costly than the investment required and this can be assessed quite easily.

Companies need customer relationship management to give control over hybrid channels and sales targeting. They have to have electronic procurement to reduce costs and time. They have to grasp the opportunity for collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment to minimise stocks, tie in major customers and improve response times. They need scientific demand planning to provide a clearer view of the future and constraint-based supply planning. Finally they need self-service order management tools to provide real-time and realistic promises to customer enquiries.

Are you getting real?

Keith Bell, is principal consultant at ECsoft

This was last published in April 2000

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