Supply Chain Management in Operations Management
Supply chain management is to operations management what oxygen is to human body. Organizational operations cannot run without a solid supply-chain-management practice. Supply chain management ensures that an organization receives an on-time delivery of raw materials as well as goods and services that are essential to running a business. The entire activity is about a chain of processes that play a critical part in feeding an organization hunger for materials and goods. A supply chain manager must ensure that every part of the chain plays its part. It is ongoing process, and unlike project management, you never done unless product or service is eliminated.
Let us discuss each of the steps below:
Planning: After an organization has figured out the exact requirements of a customer, it is time to design the supply chain in a manner that will enable the organization to fulfill customer requirements. This is the first step and must be carefully taken so that each sub-step is carefully planned to exact the maximum out of limited resources and time. The end-objective is of course, ongoing client satisfaction and that should be the theme of the plan.
Developing: After the plan is developed, it is time to identify reliable and credible suppliers. It is important that the suppliers identify themselves with the objectives of the organization as that will enable them to tune their activities accordingly. The operations manager must not only identify suppliers of raw materials, but also formulate suitable terms and conditions to ensure that the suppliers are bound to supply materials on time and of proper quality and quantity. It is also critical that the supplier interaction is actively monitored and their performance reviewed periodically.
Preservation: The organization needs to have a sound inventory-management practice so that it can make the most out of the supplies. A sound inventory-management practice will enable the organization to properly utilize supplies and keep a monitor on the utilization of supplies for final production of goods.
Manufacturing: The organization now needs to use the supplies and prepare the goods for the customer. The organization must use all its quality initiatives, processes and personnel to ensure that the goods fulfill the acceptance criteria, as set by the customer. After the good’s quality passes the quality test, it is time to package the products and send it to the client. Time line is critical factor in client satisfaction. We suggest leaving some buffer time for delivery. Since if your product arrives early, you will be given credit for being on point, while if you set time line to close and miss the dead line, you might not work with that client ever again.
Customer service: It is time to listen to customer suggestions and feedback after the goods are delivered. The suggestions would prove the basis of further improvements in the product and the organization needs to embark on a continuous quality improvement journey through this process. The organization will also fix defects in the products, if any, whenever it is notified by the client.
The above steps may vary a bit depending on specific organizational practices but the essence of supply chain management remains the same. The main objective of supply chain manager is to ensure that each part of service works well together, customer is satisfied and all processes are connected efficiently.