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20 June 2012

Oliver Wight leads 14th European Supply Chain Summit


650 delegates and suppliers thronged to the Oliver Wight sponsored 2012 Supply Chain and Logistics Summit at Berlin’s Martim hotel on the 19th and 20th June to hear the latest thinking on all matters, supply chain.

Oliver Wight partner, Stewart Kelly’s keynote presentation, ‘Supply Chain Excellence - Why it’s Now Business Critical’, packed the main conference suite with 120 senior supply chain executives from Europe, the US and Asia.

“Supply chain optimisation is an absolute necessity as we face up to a double dip recession, and supply chains are drained and struggling to meet performance requirements,” he says. “Processes need to be excellent and that’s not easy. In fact it’s an astonishing statistic that 75% of businesses struggle to deploy their strategy because they just don’t have adequate processes in place.”

Kelly explained there has to be a clear sequence of events for designing an effective supply chain. “You begin with the market and product strategy, which defines the supply chain strategy and in turn, the supply and logistics strategies. The supply chain design flows from this,” he says.

But Kelly also insists that you must have your own house in order before you can consider relationships with customers and suppliers. “Your business has to be ‘in control’,” he says. As an absolute minimum, you need a single set of numbers; you must be providing good customer service and routine things need to be happening routinely.”

He says that it’s critical to understand too, where the power players are in the supply chain, since these will have a fundamental impact on the shape of its design: “If you have an 800lb gorilla in your supply chain, it will determine whether you move forwards or backwards along the supply chain on your improvement journey and you need to confront that before you can begin to build closer relationships with customers and suppliers.”

From there Kelly says the focus shifts to understanding the agility required to serve the customer cost effectively and to segment the supply chain response to deliver the required strategy.

“The objective has to be to take out cost out of the supply chain and to drive improvements that everybody can share in. If that sounds like motherhood and apple pie, it isn’t because plenty of companies are doing it and really benefiting as a result,” he concludes.

Notes to editors