Voice of Supplier
‘Voice of Customer’ is a very important aspect of increasing customer satisfaction index. Similarly, ‘Voice of Supplier’ is also an important aspect to optimize various parameters in the supply chain. Most of the organizations are dependent, though the level varies, on their suppliers to produce quality products/services at lower cost. I would say, in some domains like OEM, Medical device, Retail, the dependency is on n-tier suppliers too.
I have already mentioned in one of my previous post how supply chain collaboration can help your organization. The more you collaborate with your suppliers, the better procurement KPIs you have. Organization can consider supplier’s feedback to improvise product design, process improvement, cost reduction, quality improvement etc. And all these will lead to better customer satisfaction and revenue.
Suppliers may enlighten a totally different aspect as they are also doing business with other customers. Your suppliers may possess a wealth of knowledge which can be leveraged in an organized manner. It doesn’t matter how big/small is your supplier, important is what extent do you collaborate with your supplier to capture their input.
There are various ways to capture the ‘voice of supplier’ for your organization e.g Events, Awards, surveys online/offline, feedback during shipment etc. The feedback should be captured regularly, quarterly/annually so that proper business benefits can be derived from these inputs.
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Generally both are part of SAP’s SCM box but can be implemented independently.
APO is used for advanced planning of demand(generally finished goods, though other material planning is quite possible), supply (various manufacturing plants to various DCs, Inter DCs, Various DCs to customer location, plants to customer locations etc), detailed production planning and scheduling, ATP checking at whole enterprise level , Truck load planning etc. APO is generally used for big enterprises having multiple plants, multiple DCs, a number of suppliers and customers etc.
You can view APO as a planning tool(demand forecast to production and some level of distribution) whereas SNC is a both planning(small extent) & execution tool mainly used for collaboration perspective (with external business partners such as Suppliers <-> Plants <-> customers and Plants<->external manufacturers).
Both tools have different objectives, they work very differently and both are required for enterprises to increase their KPIs in supply chain.
Today’s business is more complex and widespread as compared to previous decades. The manufacturers are more dependent upon their customers and hence need to align w.r.t the changes to customer demand. Same equation persists across the supply network. If the final demand of the end user changes then this change affects backwards till the raw material suppliers.
Just imagine if it’s possible for the entire supply network to work as a team and respond to the dynamicity of the end-user demand, then it’s a big advantage for the entire supply network as well as the end-user.
This is where ‘Supply Chain Collaboration’ or ‘Supply Network Collaboration’ comes into picture. So I would define ‘Supply Chain Collaboration’ as- Collaboration, at both planning & execution level, between 2 or more entities of the supply network in order to bring more values to all the business partners involved.
As I mentioned collaboration can be done at various phases of the value network. The methods and objectives also vary a lot depending upon the industry and business model. Many tools are available in today’s market to cater this requirement. Some instances are SAP, JDA, Infor etc.