TABLE OF CONTENTS
Main supply chain issues within the Hewlett Packard-UPS case study Page 6
Strategies for the future
The concept of supply chain is tightly linked to the concept of collaboration. A supply chain by nature involves the interaction of two or more firms, sharing resources, risks and capabilities and jointly working to achieve higher business performance. Therefore, companies involved in a supply chain structure must ensure collaboration among their partners by applying the following interventions : -
Appropriate performance measures: provides information regarding the results of the system efforts to supply chain members -
Intervention of integrated policies: replace local policies that prevent the supply chain members from attaining overall profitability -
Information sharing environment: to provide adequate visibility to all members -
Incentive alignment: so all members' behaviour is aligned with the overall chain goal The required levels of collaboration increase as the context in which businesses are embodied become more and more complex. Most companies are going or have already gone through a process of transformation in the way they do business: from integrated companies to fragmentation of their supply chains, which leads to the need of reliance on third party specialists Both characteristics of reliance and collaboration among supply chain members involve the concept of trust. When a company trust its partner it means that the company has positive expectations about its partner's motives . If one of the members has reasons to believe that its partner is motivated only by individual success and self-interest objectives, it is most likely that reliance and collaboration will not happen and the relationship will probably end. Another trend of today's markets is the expansion of the company's activities to different countries, either because they start buying products from suppliers located in another country or because they start selling their products to customers around the world. Operating in a global context may bring many benefits to the company such as access to better quality raw materials or increase of sales; but many challenges must be overcome to enjoy these advantages because of the complexity implied in a global supply chain. And the more the complexity of the conditions that surround the relationship between partners, the more the risk they are exposed to. And more risk implies increasing needs for collaboration, cooperation, alignment and trust. The complexity of the global market is not only in the fact that many different factors affect the business, but also that these factors are most likely to change over time and space. What is effective today may not be considered so tomorrow and the needs of a customer or supplier in one country may differ from the specific requirements in another country. Therefore, to perform well in today's market, supply chain's qualities must also include the ability to react rapidly to sudden changes and to adapt over time as market structures and strategies evolve .
In the electronics and information technology (IT) industries companies are facing a period characterized by an increase of outsourcing activities; not only peripheral activities but also critical areas are being outsourced. This is due to a number of reasons : -
Products are characterized by shorter product life cycles
Products are characterized by modular architectures
The supplier market has developed, offering enhanced capabilities -
Opportunities of lower cost and better skilled labour else where One of the activities that is most likely to be outsourced is the logistics and transportation of the products, upstream and downstream. Although logistics might be seen as a secondary asset, it is actually a very important one and mainly for companies in the IT...
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