Building resilience with a pan-European supply chain network

  • January 28, 2021
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For supply chain leaders, disruptions come with the territory. Now, the latest supply chain upheavals have taken complexity to another level. We recently discussed how supply chain network modeling can help increase your network’s resilience and support future growth.

We sat down with two of European clients for an in-depth discussion about their recent experiences with the Supply Chain Design consulting service at NTT DATA.

Why take on a supply chain design project?

Weber-Stephen Products, a worldwide leader in the outdoor cooking and grilling category, wanted to optimize its European network. Doing so would position the brand for long-term growth, deliver greater cost efficiencies and service levels, and differentiate the company from competing brands.

Lamb-Weston Meijer, one of the top producers of frozen potato products globally, wanted to enable continuous network modeling. This capability would enable ongoing strategic decision-making and help optimize network investments.

What was your biggest takeaway from the process?

A supply chain design project is a journey, and you often learn unexpected lessons along the way. As Mark Lawrence from Weber-Stephen Products commented, “The real enlightenment is when you understand your business in data terms — what true costs are, what’s included in the costs — from sales, marketing and finance through to the operations and logistics teams. You confirm a lot of things about your business that you previously only had anecdotal evidence on.” The client began the exercise with a hypothesis of what they wanted to achieve and, as the process continued, the idea became less a hypothesis and more a fact.

Jos Gommers of Lamb-Weston Meijer also found real wisdom in collecting and understanding data. “We could see what our organization, and our business, really looked like,” he said. Because the business depends on the agricultural output of select geographic regions, the company had a limited set of predefined choices for adding capacity. The model we helped create quickly ruled out some options.

What sort of results can you expect from supply chain design?

Analyzing your supply chain network design provides an in-depth, data-driven understanding of at a granular level. It provides end-to-end visibility and the ability to make informed decisions, so you can align your network rapidly. This holistic view of the supply chain helps you evaluate many complex relationships, such as the impact your investments in resilience have on your cost optimization efforts. You can better understand the relationships between cost-to-serve and your cost of complexity, as well as the effects of “what-if” disruptive scenarios.

Our proven network design approach begins with data collection, validation and analysis. Together, we’ll conduct strategy and operations discovery to define your constraints and objectives. This collective effort will create a baseline model, a key step toward building a “digital twin” of your supply chain. We’ll validate this model against historical data, helping you build confidence in the model’s accuracy and the results of dozens of scenarios. These results will reveal quick wins for your supply chain, in addition to ideal long-term network strategies.

— By Erik Diks

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