Weather forecasting affects many industries in subtle, but pivotal ways. Temperature and precipitation forecasts help farmers cultivate crops. The viability of the crop affects how it’s priced in markets. How well the produce sells affects consumers, businesses, and the economy. A supply chain also has a forecasting component, and as VMC Supply Chain Manager Tammy Walker explains, decisions made in the planning phase of a chain can have long-lasting effects.
The planning stage of the supply chain management has a strong marketing component, which drives supply chain management. Those in marketing will look at sales based on seasonality from past years, forecast market trends, and choose items to procure and stock that will meet consumer demand. Introducing new products to the market takes considerable forethought and planning. Also, as new products are introduced, new SKUs are created, which require a specific lead time. There are just many moving parts to set in motion and keep track of. Believe it or not, items that will be stocked during the holidays at the end of the year were purchased at the beginning of summer.
Marketing also decides how items are packaged, the way they are displayed in the stores, and other details. The supply chain manager’s job is realizing these details. Supply chain managers oversee the procurement, production, manufacturing, transportation, and display of these items.
You may have noticed that the strawberries once displayed prominently in your local grocery stores are being supplanted by oranges. The supply chain used for strawberries cannot be used for oranges for many reasons – they have different producers, for instance – so a supply chain manager has to modify the supply chain to ensure there are no disruptions. Besides being vigilant of possible issues, flexibility and adaptability are keys to a smooth supply chain.
A good supply chain manager has the ability to nimbly adjust components of a supply chain based on seasonality and trends. What are you doing to avoid turbulence in your supply chain?
Contact Tammy Walker at TammyW@vmc.com or 877.393.8622.