Many large B2B companies have been early adopters of price optimization software, but the technology is spreading further. B2B companies realize that relying on analysts with spreadsheets and manual tools to set and manage price points is impossible. These manual approaches have resulted in irrational prices and caused customer dissatisfaction.

Companies can correct course by embracing rational pricing to ensure prices make sense to all stakeholders.

For prices to make sense, they must align with local market dynamics and customer relationships, as well as the perceived value of products and services. From a corporate P&L perspective, prices should line up with strategic and financial goals to meet the objectives of the executive team and shareholders. B2B companies need to set prices that deliver the growth and gross margins committed in the business plan.

Healthcare costs have been under the microscope, and recently we have seen increased focus on cost containment and waste reduction. Because of the Affordable Care Act, focus is shifting from volume of procedures to value and the total cost of care. Operational concerns such as waste, patient safety, charge capture accuracy and transparency are under intense scrutiny because of their impact on the cost of care.

Despite pressures to streamline, most hospitals and health systems have not effectively addressed a main source of rising costs and inefficiency – inventory waste. The result is an estimated $5 billion of annual waste in medical devices.

What do you think of when someone mentions supply chain? Most commonly it’s factories, sourcing and shipping. When people used to talk about supply chain, they would refer to how manufacturers got goods from suppliers to deliver products to customers.

Now, people think of the supply chain involving all steps businesses take to get goods or services from suppliers to deliver goods or services to customers. Not just the farm-to-fork process, but all steps needed to bring a dish to the table.

Traditionally, purchasing of goods has been managed closely, but there is greater opportunity for cost savings for services than for purchase of materials.  The restaurant industry has opportunities for savings by using supply chain principles to focus both on the costs of services as well as putting focus on increasing accuracy and efficiency in the procure-to-pay process.

As exciting new technologies become available with the potential to streamline supply chain processes and introduce new efficiencies, industry decisionmakers are eagerly integrating these tools into their existing processes. These tools can make a meaningful impact.

But decision makers must be familiar with the costs, considerations and consequences of implementation. Utilizing and optimizing transportation management technology begins with understanding the best practices associated with successfully making that technology part of an efficient platform.

The trends in logistics are changing. Fulfillment centers around the globe are adapting to better suit customer demands. We’re seeing more automation and robotics, more office improvements, more levels of complexity, more security and more employee workplace amenities among others.  In short, businesses are expecting more. And they want more now.

Leasing new property is an important part of expanding or streamlining operations. Whether it’s done to expand into a new market or make business easier for staff members or external customers, leasing decisions have always been an important logistics challenge. But while a landlord’s main customer is the tenant, the capital structure of distribution buildings is critically important.

The word “factory” conjures up a set of particular images – typically of a dedicated facility or a group of buildings with a slightly rundown exterior, located on the outskirts of a town or a city, with a shop floor that’s noisy, none too clean or well lit, and full of heavy machinery and endless conveyor belts where workers are engaged in repetitive manual tasks.

But factories focused on enabling mass production are fading into obscurity as manufacturers look for more use of current and emerging technologies to facilitate mass customization. Instead, we’ll see a variety of factories emerge in a range of locations, which may be fully automated or employ a mix of robots and human staff.

Between rising competition and the tightening of budgets, today’s supply chain and procurement managers face more challenges than ever, especially when it comes to visibility. In fact, a recent Transport Intelligence survey indicated that lack of supply chain visibility was the number one challenge for logistics stakeholders in the past year, with only 16.9 percent of respondents reporting that they have end-to-end visibility into their supply chain, including insight into partners.

One of the top ways logistics leaders can alleviate some of these pain points is to focus on proper execution of supply chain activities – from global trade and the movement of goods to storage – through the use of information and data to provide visibility and collaboration. This process is referred to as supply chain execution convergence (SCEC). 

CEOs and boards are pushing senior managers throughout their businesses to embrace big data. Case studies carrying huge ROI numbers circulate quickly and broadly, spurring the expectation to follow, or even lead, innovations in data-driven processes.

Companies have already invested trillions of dollars in data and databases. Today, there are certainly opportunities to bring that data to bear in reducing cost and improving performance, but most of those strategies take time and substantial effort. With leadership looking for results now, the race is on to deliver a win for big data and buy time for other strategies to develop.

Good news for supply chain executives: the best answer may be procurement optimization. By investing strategically in big data analytics, procurement executives can find significant value in optimizing smaller, under-the-radar vendors.  By simply organizing and analyzing data that up to now was not worth the effort, companies could find up to four times the savings they get out of procurement optimization for their biggest suppliers. 


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