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Benefits of Aligning Design and Supply Chain Strategy

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Introduction:
Customer-centric businesses are designed to close the gaps between supply chain planning and execution, enabling supplies to match demand and reduce the risk inherent in supply chain execution. They have typically been concerned with the last mile of the supply chain, from distribution to store or consumer (Baired, 2008). However, the growing unpredictability of supply chains, shorter product lifecycles and increased product proliferation, make time-to-market critical to avoid obsolete inventories and this has meant that businesses have had to take a more co-ordinated approach in their supply chain and understand where they can remove the non-value adding gaps in their total supply chain (Van Hoek & Chapman, 2006).

This end-to-end perspective of the supply chain forces organisations to break down the traditional functional ‘silo’s’ and to move towards a greater degree of cross-functional working. This will speed up response times to the market as well as reduce supply risk - through better alignment and communication across functions and demand risk - by increasing visibility of demand upstream in the supply chain. This organizational change requires businesses to rethink both the processes of managing design, and the ways in which they communicate the strategic value of design to the success of their extended enterprise. Particularly, as it has been reported that up to 80% of the total costs in the supply chain are lost early on in the supply chain at the product design stage (Appelqvist et al, 2004).

Nevertheless there is a growing realization that the supply chain ‘begins on the drawing board’ (Krishnan & Ulrich, 2001). This suggests the need to factor in supply chain issues early at the design stage, in order to consider product design implications for the total supply chain in terms of component or material availability or capacity constraints. The basis of an effective response to the market place is not just having the design competence to identify what the customer wants but the ability to work with suppliers to ensure that they can deliver it at the right time, to the right quality and at the right cost. Therefore, design is not just concerned with the appearance and functionality of products, it also has an important role to play in the co-ordinated efforts of the supply chain and in risk management. Therefore, it highlights the importance of the product design function in designing appropriate supply chain strategies and the need for better alignment between product design and the supply chain to enhance a firm’s competitiveness. Yet there is very little detailed research documenting the importance of product design in the supply chain, conceptually or empirically derived. Although product design and supply chain are important subjects in their own right with thousands of articles published describing their separate importance, there is less published work which has described the alignment between the two to improve a firm’s competitiveness.

Today’s marketplace is more fiercely competitive than ever before. Globalization, technological change, and demanding customers promise to make mediocrity an endangered species. Yet, the performance bar continues to rise. New managerial practices and unique business models emerge and fade constantly. To help their companies succeed in this less kind, less gentle, and less predictable world, managers must follow the advice of Thomas Edison when he said, “If there is a better way, find it.”

Supply chain management has been identified and touted as the better way. For several years, the pundits have said that the very nature of competition is changing. They have claimed that the day is rapidly coming when companies will no longer compete against other companies. They foresee a world in which supply chains will compete against other supply chains for market supremacy. For example, Wal-Mart and its suppliers will battle Carrefour and its suppliers in consumer markets around the world. Likewise, Toyota and its suppliers will clash with Ford and its suppliers for global competitive advantage. Similar rivalries will emerge in the other industries from electronics to pharmaceuticals and from apparel to fast food. In other words, companies will choose sides and form cohesive teams that will compete across borders in the quest to increase productivity and capture global market share.

The possibilities in a supply-chain world are astounding, but the challenges that lie along the path to supply chain excellence are equally formidable. Indeed, companies have struggled for years to achieve true cross-functional process integration within their own four walls. Perhaps this is one reason why the cohesive supply chain team has never fully emerged. Even so, the integrated supply chain concept is relatively new and managers across numerous industries are determined to make it work. They are experimenting with all sorts of alignment mechanisms and organizational forms. They are investing in systems and tweaking measures. They are looking to technology and to people to find the key to greater inter-organizational cooperation.

This focus study has looked at the supply chain phenomenon, examining the forces behind the drive for enhanced collaboration and evaluating the benefits and barriers to supply chain integration. Vital bridges to supply chain success are explored. A process model for supply chain integration is presented along with a best practices benchmarking diagnostic. It is our hope that the discussion and the tools developed in the study provide some useful insight to help guide managers as they and their companies endeavor to make headway along the arduous journey to supply chain leadership. We join Eckhard Pfeiffer in his assessment that, “Nothing is harder than casting aside the thinking, strategies, and biases that propelled a business to its current success. Companies need to learn how to unlearn, to slough off yesterday's wisdom.”

Number of Pages of Project Report: 72
Package Includes: Ppt + Project Report + Excel Sheet
Project Format: Document (.doc)

Table of Contents of Project Report:
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
RATIONALE OF THE STUDY
NEED OF THE STUDY
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER 3: LITERATURE REVIEW
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
RESEARCH PARADIGM
RESEARCH DESIGN
DATA SOURCE
TOOLS OF ANALYSIS
CHAPTER 5: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
FINDINGS
CONCLUSION
RECOMMENDATIONS
CONTRIBUTION FROM THE STUDY
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
QUESTIONNAIRE
REFERENCES


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