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The SME Supply Chain

Why is it always about the big brands?

Have you noticed that the vast majority of business courses and case studies are always about large global companies? The positive point here is that the audience can resonate with these brands, but in reality, the majority of companies do not have the same access to resources as these giants.

Clever for clever’s sake?

Moreover, have you also noticed that when supply chain experts and academics write page after page of new text, it tends to include new jargon and buzzwords that may well resonate through the office (and virtual office) corridors of the large organisation, but which in reality only serve to confuse those outside of the industry? I recently saw a new piece of supply chain software being advertised and I hold my hands up to having to read it three times before I could even start to fathom the problem it was trying to solve.

We demand simplicity and clarity, even if it is a broad subject matter

And here is a great contradiction. We are asking our supply chain leaders of the future to be great communicators. The rest of the board needs them to be clear and concise, to highlight the issues and to give clarity in their solutions. This was never more apparent than when the world went into office lockdown. People, systems and processes had to find new ways of working virtually.

It is true, however, that supply chain activity is a very broad spectrum. Understanding all the topics and all of the possibilities is not easy. Harnessing the right solutions to deliver competitive advantage through your supply chains is therefore very difficult.

How do you source your expertise?

Breadth and depth of resource are issues to the SME. In many SMEs, ‘the supply chain’ does not often have a prominent position at the board table. It is rare to find a small business without a sales director, but very common to find one without a procurement director, supply chain director or logistics director. Often, supply chain responsibility all falls under the banner of the operations director or the commercial director. More commonly, supply chain activity falls to a ‘Head Of’, or a manager.

Missed opportunities

If you combine the picture of industry leaders and partners making supply chains sound complicated, along with SMEs not having the breadth and depth of resource to put supply chain discussions into the boardroom, then by default there are a number of SMEs who have yet to maximise the performance of their supply chains. Our free supply chain review can help.

Skilled resource, easily accessed, simply communicated

At Slater Austin, we believe passionately in three elements. Firstly, that supply chains can be described and explained in very simple ways, and that once understood in simple terms, improvement is easy to deliver. Secondly, that the ability for SMEs to have access to the breadth of skills and resources required to evaluate and deliver optimal supply chains with in-house employees alone is virtually impossible. External expertise is necessary. Thirdly, that each business has its own unique supply chain, so that simple replication of ‘best-in-class’ ideas from other organisations cannot be dropped into your own organisation as a guarantee of success.

Take the free challenge

So passionate in our belief, that we offer free supply chain reviews to all of our customers. Challenge us to show you how to improve your supply chain performance.

Moreover, as supply chain trainers, we will put on a free new course, exclusively to CEOs of SMEs – ‘Supply chain masterclass for CEOs of SMEs’. You can book in to attend this webinar by clicking here.


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