The results of a leaner and more resilient supply chain go far deeper than just cost savings. Speed of delivery to the customer is a differentiator, especially in consumer goods and online sales. So how can a supply chain consultant help achieve this desired outcome? What skills are involved?
What A Supply Chain Consultant Does
Supply chain consultants provide practical guidance and investment advice to help overhaul your supply chain. They make it more efficient, resilient and faster. That includes reduced costs and minimised inventory. The sum of those parts makes your business more competitive, delivers greater customer satisfaction and leads to better company organisation. Some of the services routinely deployed include:
- Supply chain strategy
- Supply chain analytics
- Supply chain risk management
- Inventory and warehouse optimisation
- Distribution network optimisation
- Transport strategy optimisation
Companies also request interim direct management of aspects of the supply chain. They realise that a good consultant will have wide experience of dealing with materials and service suppliers. Understanding their common problems enables a consultant to identify and iron out troublesome issues such as delays, inconsistent quality and costs. They have the advantage of not being potentially blinkered by the current ways of doing things or burdened by the day to day running of the operation.
Core Skills Of Supply Chain Consultants
Supply chain consulting requires excellent management experience and the capability to professionally execute the services listed above. The role touches on many elements – procurement, warehousing and stockholding, logistics, distribution network and even production, product development and marketing.
First and foremost, a consultant must understand the dynamics of your supply chain. Each supply chain is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Shaping a resilient supply chain aims to minimise the negative impacts of inevitable disruptions on customers, costs and profits. That requires:
- Experience, first and foremost, of all aspects of supply chain management.
- Management capability to identify the vital decisions and execute the resulting actions.
- Excellent communication skills are a pre-requisite. Supply chains have people at their centre. Sorting out issues means being fully understood as well as listening to and comprehending the position of other parties.
- Analytical skill is critical for quickly grasping the core issues of a situation. That covers business scenarios as well as knowing what numbers to look for and extrapolating the correct inferences from a set of data.
- Negotiating capability underpins much of a consultant’s work. The ideal is to achieve outcomes that represent a win for all parties.
- IT expertise, both to assess how technology is being used to map processes and the capability to use existing client systems as a user.
Your Next Steps
At LPC International we have extensive experience of supply chain consulting, with services that include optimising logistics and warehouses. Download our free Warehouse Productivity Guide - How To Design & Run An Efficient Warehouse to find out more, or call 01285 640038 to make an enquiry.