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Supply Chain Implementation
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In preparing your vision for communication, there are six basic background elements you will need to provide to your partners in advance of implementation. These elements give the partners a solid foundation of what is going to be expected and will allow them to start their own thought processes.

1. Current Business Environment

Provide a brief history of the company; define the ma­jor products, the key executives, and your primary com­petitors. The Internet is a great source for this general information.

2. Current Supply Chain

Discuss how the materials organization is operating to­day. Include warehouse, production, planning, purchas­ing, and shipping activity. This starting point is important to measure the success of the implementation.

3. Feedback Pertaining to the Current Supply
Chain Model

Review what works well and doesn't work well in the current supply chain model. You may not want to change a good thing. Let your partners know in advance so they can plan for those variables.

4. What Are the Goals and Objectives?

Define what you and the management team are trying to accomplish by implementing this program. Is it fi­nancial? Resource allocation? Improved customer sat­isfaction? Improved quality of the product? This is the second area, which needs to be measured to show suc­cess or failure in the implementation.

5. Who Are the Partners Involved in the

There might be times when competing suppliers need to work together on the project. Our focus is process, and the process is the same for all partners. Be up front with your suppliers that division of business and future awards will be handled separately from the implemen­tation of business processes.

6. What Is the Timeline of the Program?

Set realistic timeline expectations for each task that needs to be accomplished, leading to the completion of each objective. Define how reviews will be conducted to ensure the schedule is on track.

With our preliminary data complete, it is time to cre­ate a letter of understanding (LOU). An LOU is a written document, usually one to two pages, designed to com­municate a common, consistent message to all internal and external partners involved in the supply chain. It is imperative to have a clear starting and finishing point in our project. This is important because people will come and go during the implementation of our program and the need to establish a baseline of understanding is criti­cal to the partners involved. It also provides to the execu­tive staff with direction for program development.

To create an LOU, start with a brief introduction of the project. The next sections are devoted to the six ba­sic background elements defined about the project. Keep the letter short and to the point, defining the primary concepts but avoiding the specific details and logistics. End the letter with a call to action and identify the start­ing time for the first team meeting. Make sure to in­clude contact information to answer any questions the partners might have.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 13


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