The main essence of a supply chain is to deliver the right product to the right people at the right time. While it may sound simple, it is difficult to achieve.

5 Critical Challenges That Your Supply Chain May Face
5 Critical Challenges That Your Supply Chain May Face

Kevin Hill | Quality Scales Unlimited

The main essence of a supply chain is to deliver the right product to the right people at the right time. While it may sound simple, it is difficult to achieve. You need to respond to dynamic changes in the business world, like globalization, and increasingly unique customer demands. 

However, there are some challenges that every supply chain must overcome. With effective supply chain management, you can address these challenges without disrupting the supply chain. 

Here are 5 challenges that supply chains may face. 


Ever-Changing Customers Demands

It is important to keep up with customer demands, which are changing by the day. You cannot apply the ‘one size fits all’ motto to supply chains anymore. Only those supply chains will be effective which can cater to the unique requirements of different customers. 

Some customers would like to order in bulk while some want customized products. Some customers prefer flexibility while others want cost-effective services. It is important to meet all these demands to be successful. 

You must understand how many supply chains you need to operate based on your product and service offerings. A segmented product portfolio and customer identifiers will let you determine the right number of supply chains for your organization.


Inability to Afford Technology and Innovation 

Technology has always been essential in the supply chain but its scope will increase in the next few years. In the past, the power of computing and availability of large-scale, reliable datasets was leveraged. 

Now, many technological advancements and innovation help you run an efficient supply chain. They also allow for smoother communication and strong planning processes across the organization. 

The use of autonomous vehicles, robotics and analytics-driven cognitive capabilities will increase in the coming years. Manufacturers will increasingly rely on embedded intelligence. All this means that you will have to cope with new cost structures, supplier capabilities and compliance measures.

Apart from software advancements, there will be a rise in high tech hardware usage too. For instance, industrial floor scales would be used more to accurately weigh the products across the supply chain. 

Technology and innovation will become scalable but you might face the issue of being able to afford it. 


No Collaboration Across Supply Chain

Supply chains these days are made of production facilities and hubs that span across the world. Unless they can collaborate efficiently, it can make global supply chain management quite challenging. 

You need end-to-end visibility to oversee and manage these networks. It is also critical to make sure that the right products are being produced at the right facility at the right time. 

Having a fully-integrated supply chain will allow you to make necessary modifications and adjustments to planned production programs. This will also ensure that you offer on-time delivery in an efficient and cost-effective manner. 


Difficulty in Talent Acquisition and Retainment

You may have trouble finding and retaining talent with the right set of skills to manage and improve supply chains efficiently. Since the market value of such talent is rising, you must know where and how to source them in a cost-effective way. 

As a manager, you must have an extensive understanding of experience and duties required for supply chain management roles. If the skills have to be developed internally, it is essential to attract and retain highly-skilled talent through dynamic experiences and challenges. 

You can also hire new talent and give them time to rotate through the organization so that they can learn the required skills. If you are unable to source the right talent, you can also find partners who can bring their expertise on board.

It would be wise to hire quality over quantity. You may have to pay above the market price to hire the right person, but it will be worth it in the long run.  


Lack of Real-Time Communication 

You must have the ability to communicate in real-time to the changing customer demands. Suppose a planned production program requires 20 parts to make the desired product, but the customer made a change in the request. They now require a product which needs only 12 parts. 

Earlier, this tiny change could have derailed the entire supply chain. However, with intelligent planning solutions and integrated supply chains, everyone in the supply chain can communicate and respond to changes on a real-time basis. 

Effective supply chains keep the production running smoothly and offer numerous competitive advantages. By planning the processes ahead by using the right technology and supply chain solutions, you can keep the supply chain secure and agile. 



About Kevin Hill
Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.



The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow

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