Recently Glenn A. Steinberg, Principal and Global Supply Chain Leader, Advisory, EY and Matthew Butler, Industry Strategies Director, JDA Software sat down with Manufacturing Business Technology to discuss challenges and opportunities facing manufacturers and their supply chains. Following is an excerpt of their conversation:

When we consider the biggest challenges and opportunities facing manufacturers and their supply chains today, profitable growth is certainly at the top of the list. As the on-demand marketplace drives shifts in business strategies, this creates a double challenge for supply chain professionals because the supply chain needs to be responsive in addressing business needs quickly and efficiently, but also needs to be reinvented to address the new realities of operating in a digital world. 

Today’s supply chain must be able to handle the complexities of shifting consumer behavior, the growth of omni-channel retail, and the increasing demand for personalized, authentic and ethical products. At the same time, supply chains must enable companies to cut costs, increase flexibility and scale, and improve methods to guard against cyberattacks, while driving profitable growth.

Adapting to rapidly changing markets, disruptive technology trends and evolving customer needs will require change from manufacturers. The traditionally linear supply chain approach must evolve into a responsive, agile supply chain ecosystem of suppliers, partners and customers, including in-house and outsourced production and services. To accomplish this, the leadership team must determine the different supply chain strategies that are needed for various segments of the business. This may result in a far-shore production strategy where price is key for some segments, while at the same time employing a near- or on-shore strategy where flexibility and responsiveness is more critical for other segments. In either case, it may require leveraging partnerships to provide these services, or investing in house to do so.

For additional information, learn more about what a digital supply chain looks like for the digital age, how manufacturers are battling the Amazon effect and how digital technologies will be key to manufacturers’ future success.