Earlier this month, commercial director, Ben Balfour, was asked to share his insight on attitudes in the supply chain for the Supply Chain Innovation supplement in The Times. Here's his full interview with journalist Jim McClelland...
In broad terms, how have attitudes to supply-chain management changed and what global trends do you see?
“It’s a race to market across almost all sectors. For supply chain management this means finding new and innovative ways of being faster, better and cheaper than the competition without taking shortcuts on quality, compliance or accuracy. Supply chain planning is now viewed as a strategic business function which can be key to driving sales and building customer loyalty.
“As manufacturing centres shift and organisations start to take reducing journey times seriously, supply chain planning is being interrogated more than ever before.”
What are the main innovations driving these changes and trends?
“Technology is already transforming the supply chain. It’s often innovations like driverless vehicles or drones which grab the headlines, but the technology having the greatest impact is bespoke software developed to give full visibility of the stock and the ability to analyse and interrogate data.”
To what degree is supply-chain management now an issue of interest to the Board Room, or C-Suite?
“Robust supply chain management has always been of interest in the board room in terms of compliance and minimising risk. However, in recent years, the C-Suite has realised it is also the key to gaining a competitive advantage. Organisations which have invested in supply chain innovation throughout the supply chain and not just in the last-mile or consumer-facing element will reap the rewards.”
Why is collaboration key and what is making it happen in the following area – Up and down a particular supply chain, involving all tiers of partners and players?
“Most supply chains are plagued with inefficiencies and unnecessary touchpoints that slow speed to market and also add costs and administrative layers. Having the right technology in place can make collaboration possible with all tiers of the supply chain because it enhances visibility and accountability creating a seamless operation.”
© Raconteur 2019
This interview originally took place as part of the Supply Chain Innovation supplement first featured in The Times on 12 February 2019. Click here to read the full report.