When firms start grappling with vendor and inventory management, they may seek the help of a supply chain consultant. This person can either offer advice on how to make improvements or take up an active in-house management role. Supply chain management consultants are usually well acquainted with freight cost management, procurement, vendor management and price negotiation.
Inventory is a vital aspect of operational costs for many companies. It thus needs prudent management for profit maximisation to be achieved. A consultant therefore assesses various situations and explores possible solutions.
The biggest role of a supply chain consultant is the immediate assessment of inventory costs and planning on how to reduce their impact. This could involve using economies of scale to lower freight prices for both sales and purchases or slashing the number of vendors to raise purchase volumes. Such consultants would know which practice would best suit the firm’s requirements in terms of market, industry, customers and business philosophy.
Most firms need skilled managers who can spot bottlenecks and create practical yet effective solutions. Supply chain management involves roles that can be divided into planning and operations. The former involves inventory control, forecasting demand and handling issues in customer service. Operations are usually conducted in various hubs. The job involves day-to-day product flow and personnel management.
Warehouse stock levels need continual monitoring so that they can be replenished whenever they start to diminish. Supply chain managers are well acquainted with the volume and location of merchandise available across multiple channels. They can thus aid in better product management from the moment they leave the warehouse all through to the retailers or points-of-purchase. Combining inventory management with better surveillance offers real time insight into what is available for sale on various platforms and the demand levels.
Transportation and Shipping
The global growth of commerce has resulted in more options for firms looking to expand their market share. Transportation and shipping options need to keep abreast with marketplace demands. This calls for a readjustment of supply chains to meet emerging demand trends. The same situation applies when it comes to the acquisition and handling of raw materials. Better supply chain management would help firms adopt optimal transportation and shipping methods while reducing costs.
Supply chain management could be valuable to a company in various ways. It helps foster better relations with suppliers, which could boost productivity while reducing costs. Firms can also safeguard the quality of their products and adopt the development of more sustainable merchandise. Other benefits include complying with market requirements and expectations, providing security for creditors and investors, and the creation of new market opportunities.
When to Hire a Supply Chain Management Consultant
Many businesses struggle to effectively manage their transportation and logistics operations. This is mainly due to the multiple tasks involved in the process. The ever-evolving nature of modern commerce also doesn’t help.
A good supply chain management consultant could provide the capability, insight and experience required in developing better supply networks and dynamic operations. Firms can thus access many resources in innovation, technology and strategies that could be of help to them. Other issues that they could benefit include reduced complexity, enabling rapid response to changes in the market and accelerating time taken for products to reach the market.
Hiring a Consultant
A good supply chain manager needs to have leadership skills needed in strategy development and providing the vision for the entire logistics pipeline. The person also needs to prove the effectiveness and practicality of their cost containment tactics. They also have to possess the ability to redesign or develop logistics processes. This would involve proactive review of market demands, creating faster cycle times and providing better documentation.
The manager also needs to be a good communicator and listener. This is vital in relating better with cross-functional groups and better articulation of the benefits of improving various processes. They also need to sell their strategies to clients.
Supply Chain Management Consultant Requirements
For one to successfully pursue a career in this niche, they need to meet several criteria. These include a degree in a relevant field, strong analytical and problem-solving skills, an ability to work independently while under pressure as well as good verbal and written communication skills, at times in several languages.
The person also need good interpersonal skills to enable them lead and work efficiently within a team. They also need to thrive in a fast-paced commercial environment. Some firms also require experience in retail management, especially for fast moving consumer goods.