When High Tech Challenges Become High Priority

Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges for the High Tech Industry

The high tech industry spanning across semiconductors, telecom original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), consumer electronics, high-tech distributors and software vendors is a dynamically evolving sector and one that plays an integral role in commercializing innovation, making technologies available to the common man. Being the prime factor in driving innovations and economic and technological growth, the high tech industry is majorly consumer driven. This means that in order to remain one step ahead of competition and having the customers’ back, the high tech industry needs to be customer focused and highly flexible to changing market conditions. The logistics and supply chain networks of this industry need to be especially lean, agile, quick, and effective.

High tech brands, in order to make a lasting mark need to overcome a number of challenges when dealing with supply chain operations. To begin with, the high tech industry deals in complex products and solutions. In order to drive differentiation and push for unmatched competitive edge, technology products are becoming increasingly sophisticated with cutting edge raw material and software. High tech companies must therefore always be on the lookout for the right kind of suppliers to collaborate with. Companies may need to partner with not one but numerous suppliers so that they get access to the right kind of raw material to build the kind of high tech product that they want.

Complexity of products with only increase as companies will try to woo more and more customers by offering novel and innovative offerings. Visibility is as important as managing complexity of products. It is an important measure of success. Managers need to have end-to-end visibility of what is happening across their business. They need to understand their customers, the market, their suppliers, manufacturers, agents and employees. In order to offer a glitch-free and consistent brand experience across all their touch points, companies need to ensure that stakeholders have complete visibility of what is happening in the supply chain, where the product is stuck, the suppliers that are involved or why the consumer declined acceptance of the product. Visibility gives meaning to business. In today’s digital age, it’s not just supply chain managers who must have access to supply chain information. In fact, consumers want to deal with brands that allow them to track their payments, product status or refunds.

An API that ensures such kind of seamless communication, be it material or information needs to be built into the system. Successful supply chains are characterized by high visibility points and barrier-less communication, allowing every stakeholder to get a deep understanding of the current situation and helping them to run analytics to predict future moves.  This is especially true in the case of high tech industry supply chains, where the challenge is two-fold given the short shelf-life of the product.

High tech industry is majorly characterized by products that have a diminishing shelf life and a shrinking market window. On top of that, there is cut-throat competition.  Added to that is the fact that the high-tech industry is pretty much consumer-driven, making it all the more important for management to build a network that allows for seamless transfer of data among all stakeholders, well within a stipulated time frame. Consumers are finicky and needless to say, social media has empowered them to drive brands towards success or failure. Supply chain in the high tech industry plays a vital role in ensuring customer delight. The supply chain here becomes the final link between the customers and the brand.

Thus the challenge lies in building an agile network that brings all stakeholders on the same platform, allowing them insight into supply chain movement to ensure products are delivered to customers within time and reason. In the ever-evolving high tech industry, it’s just not creating a high visibility framework but also effectively managing product lifecycle that matter when it comes to high-tech industry supply chain networks. In order to ensure quick transfer of products from one end to another and many a time even reverse logistics, it is imperative to have a deep understanding of your supplier base, manufacturing units, consumers and all important metrics.

Leaning Towards Lean & Agile

The means to measure success are depended on how quick your time to market and time to volume is. Another metric that determines strategic success is delivery performance, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and shareholder value goals. Achieving these strategic business objectives greatly depend on your supply chain performance. Hence it’s imperative to integrate supply chain management solutions  that are designed to meet your metrics and maintain high customer satisfaction on a continued basis.

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