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Effective supply chain event management is much like effective supply chain management. The latter is used by operational staff to manage an ongoing supply chain; the former is used by project managers for specific events. Effective management helps supply chain project managers to consider all the possible events that may cause the supply chain to fail or bottleneck. A good system can both improve financial controls and reduce operational risk.
Supply chain event management is interrelated and coordinated rather than linear, like supply chain management tends to be. Instead, it looks at the supply chain as one organization and each transaction as an event. This allows project managers to model supply chain events with simulation analysis, which can help to improve event management in the future. This is especially true for emergency planning scenarios.
Event management involves assessing and preparing for disruptions to the supply chain process. It also includes developing alternative plans of action if a bottleneck or issue should occur with a particular vendor. In this way, it is similar to emergency planning for the supply chain.
Common supply chain events include the selection of a new vendor or the implementation of a new supply chain solution. If not planned properly, these events can have devastating effects on a firm's ability to meet customer demand. Failure to meet demand is the supply chain manager's nightmare, which is why good event management is necessary for business success.
One way supply chain managers keep track of the overall supply chain is with technology and software applications that help to manage inventory, order fulfillment, and delivery. The goal is to manage the entire supply chain as one connected process. That is, as inventory decreases, the supply chain systems in place help to provide an automatic alert, which triggers the order process. Along that same vein, when a customer places an order, the system provides an automatic alert to trigger the order fulfillment and delivery process.
The backbone of a successful supply chain event management system is time. Each event failure triggers an alert that is facilitated by a set of timing rules. Should one of the triggers fail, a back up system helps to monitor the overall event and notify supply chain managers before the bottleneck or other issue gets out of control.
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