Critical Infrastructure Planning Guidelines for Supply Chain!

Infrastructure Planning

Over the years, digital disruption has become a norm for all industries, and supply chain businesses are not an exception. Technology has changed the entire structure, right from internal communications to physical operations to infrastructure planning.

Things are only going to get bigger and better in the future, with digital innovation poised to take over the sector. Right now, it is important to have the right technology infrastructure for your supply chain business so that you can make it future-ready.

Whether you are planning to start from scratch or looking to revamp the existing infrastructure for your business, here are some guidelines to help with your infrastructure planning.

Optimizing the existing infrastructure can drive extensive savings 

An outdated infrastructure can be the primary reason for daily disruptions and challenges for your supply chain business. Re-evaluating both operations and infrastructure in routine is, therefore, the best approach if you want to overcome these challenges for good.

If you are looking to streamline operations and drive extensive cost savings as well, modernization is the key. A recurring evaluation along with agile innovation can set your business on track to savings and growth in the long run. The right IT solutions to modernize these processes and implement effective network mapping can take the business in the right direction.

Understanding the possibilities of innovation is important 

When it comes to planning the best infrastructure for modernizing your supply chain operations, you need to understand the possibilities for innovation. Change is inevitable, and responding to it with agility can open the opportunities to boost your profitability. So you need to implement processes and tools that can recognize the rapid changes occurring in the supply chain on the fly.

Once you are able to get hold of these changes, there is a need to identify the potential courses of action to address them. After you nail the actions, it becomes easy to choose apt IT solutions and applications to innovate these areas.

Modern infrastructure planning needs a collaborative approach

Enhancing supply chain operations is all about collaboration between various operations, including manufacturing, procurement, logistics, sales, and finance. Additionally, you need an IT team with experts who can streamline the entire initiative. Consider getting IT support from a reliable company that knows the industry well enough.

They can assess the entire operations and pinpoint the gaps within. Further, they will also recommend the right solutions to address the gaps as they drive the implementation of the new infrastructure for the business.

Including diverse scenarios to plan a robust solution 

While collaboration across all the operations is essential, you cannot plan the supply chain infrastructure design without bearing in mind the diverse scenarios that the business may face. Since these plans are based on forecasts of the future, there is no assurance of accuracy.

Whether it is the cost of raw materials, transportation expenses, customer demand or competitors’ actions, every factor may change down the line. So it is vital to recognize the uncertainty of predictive data and explore different possible scenarios. Also, you need to evaluate the apt course of action for each of the scenarios to be ready for all contingencies.

Hybrid solutions are the best

As managers base supply chain infrastructure planning on simplified assumptions, they may end up overlooking opportunities. Rather than thinking too simple, it is better to visualize hybrid solutions. For example, you may invest in hybrid technologies that drive the supply chain efficiencies while ensuring cost savings.

This can include a mix of technology applications and manpower-based processes to handle various aspects of a process. The final objective is to achieve cost savings and maximize efficiency, so the model hardly matters as long as it delivers the desired outcomes.

Network structures matter the most

Once the business has its manufacturing and distribution assets in place and its transportation contracts are negotiated, there is hardly anything more they can do to enhance operations and efficiencies. The only scope for improvement is in infrastructure, which is best done by automating processes with the right IT solutions.

Considering automation for operations like manufacturing, raw material sourcing, distribution, and delivery is a good idea. If a business is able to do it successfully, cost savings and efficiency become a norm, without any extra effort or investment.Though infrastructure planning and modernization for a supply chain business can take a lot of work, the efforts can be completely worthwhile.

Agility is the key, so it becomes vital to stay one step ahead of the tech trends in the industry so that you can implement them before the others and gain a competitive advantage.

Infrastructure planning article and permission to publish here provided by Kenny Johnson. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on October 2, 2020.