The management of the flow of goods and services is what is referred to as supply chain management. According to Margaret Rouse at TechTarget, Supply Chain Management is defined as “Supply chain management (SCM) is the oversight of materials, information, and finances as they move in a process from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. Supply chain management involves coordinating and integrating these flows both within and among companies.” Supply chain management occurs in both product companies and service industries.
Elliot Taylor of Chron, highlights a few key differences between the manufacturing industry and the service industry in supply chain management including:
1) the manufacturing industry requires a focus on the physical products and a wide base of suppliers, while the service industry has less requirements for physical products and their supplier base is typically smaller;
2) Both industries require labour, however, manufacturing industries deal with costs associated with obtaining, manipulating and delivering physical product while in the service industry the main costs are typically associated with managing information and developing relationships;
3) In the manufacturing industry, a finished product typically looks like a product that has been built, tested and delivered, while in the service industry a finished product generally means a closed file;
4) Optimization of the supply chain in the manufacturing industry is focused on the speed of the delivery of the product and in the service industry, optimization is accomplished through relationships and information flow.
Jen A. Miller of CIO summarized five strategies for successful supply chain management including:
1) Making sure everything is transparent and communication in the supply chain is strong;
2) Ensure there is an avenue that allows for discussion of processes, updates, and future directions;
3) Stay current and pay attention to what consumers want and need;
4) Create a policy to ensure security within the supply chain; and;
5) Establish a team for supply chain management from various levels within the organization.
SMP Law firm is a law firm located in Mississauga, Ontario. SMP Law focuses on three main areas of law: family law, estate law and civil law. Shawn, the lawyer at SMP Law, received his license to practice law in Ontario in 2002 and opened his own law firm as a sole practitioner. He has remained a sole practitioner but has acquired a very skilled team that has become the SMP Law family. SMP Law prides itself on SiMPlifying legal matters for clients.
In an interview with Shawn of SMP Law, he explained the supply chain management structure that SMP Law follows. Beginning with the first call from a client to the firm, the client is guided to the appropriate team member that can begin to assist with their legal matter. Each team member at SMP Law has a specific focus, such as assisting with the creation of financial statements, legal research, administrative tasks and the development of a finished product of strong legal documents that help guide a client’s matter to completion. I asked Shawn how he created the flow of the supply chain management structure and he replied “I listen to the clients”. Shawn explained that SMP Law regularly reviews various social media channels to see what clients are saying about their expectations for service. He explained that social media now offers a wide variety of opportunities to hear what clients expect, what they like and do not like and how to best serve them in the most efficient and cost effective ways. Shawn also stated that the flow of the supply chain is continually reviewed among team members based on what clients are saying and updated as necessary.
Lessons for Others
In a review of supply chain management some key lessons for others trying to have a successful supply chain management structure are the following:
- Have a clear structure and plan
- Stay updated and create a strong team;
- Utilize the various social media opportunities to hear what clients are saying about your products or services; and;
- Be prepared to adapt your structure based on what you learn from social media channels if it makes sense for your organization.
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Miller, J. A. (August 4, 2017). 5 Keys to Supply Chain Management Success. Retrieved on November 4, 2017, from https://www.cio.com/article/2441430/supply-chain-management/supply-chain-management-the-5-keys-to-successful-supply-chain-management.html
Rouse, M. Supply Chain Management. Retrieved on November 4, 2017, from http://searcherp.techtarget.com/definition/supply-chain-management-SCM
Taylor, E. Differences in Supply Chain Designs for a Manufacturing Industry vs. a Service Industry. Retrieved on November 4, 2017, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/differences-supply-chain-designs-manufacturing-industry-vs-service-industry-14610.html
Wikipedia. Supply Chain Management. Retrieved on November 4, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_chain_management