How to Manage a Supply Chain with Scrum?

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Agile Operations aim to respond quickly to market demand to retain current markets and gain new market share. And the supply chain plays an important role in agile logistics.

As a strategy, agile operations can be seen as embracing uncertainty in markets and gaining a competitive advantage by being flexible and quick to respond to them.

The focus of agility has shifted from an individual organization to supply chains in which multiple companies work together. A supply chain is a series of activities that move materials from suppliers through operations to customers.

In this context, managers and teams from the different areas involved in the chains (including procurement) need to develop the ability to quickly respond to demands, in addition to managing the new risks and uncertainties that arise.

In this sense, an interesting path for companies is the use of agile methodologies in supply chains.

The agile methodology is a strategy used by companies as a way to standardize logistical processes, improve operations, gain efficiency and offer a higher quality service. This generates several benefits, including in the logistics sector of the business.

However, to enjoy all the advantages, it is very important to understand what is the appropriate methodology according to the needs and objectives of the institution so that they are functional.

In this article, you will understand the role of Supply Chain in business management and logistics and how Scrum can help teams work with it.

What is Supply Chain?

The supply chain, also known as Supply Chain Management (SCM), is the set of activities that involve the production, storage, and transport of products or services. This includes purchasing raw materials, controlling inventory, and transporting the product to the end customer.

However, all activities must be very well planned and optimized so that they can generate positive results. In addition, planning needs to be done by integrating all sectors that influence production.

Planning Supply Chain Management

To plan the supply chain management, it is necessary to understand that each company produces different products in different ways, and that is why decision-making needs to meet its production process, specifically. Therefore, the first step is to carry out a general analysis of the company.

This analysis is essential to find the weak points within the process, as well as all the important data of each step. In addition, it must contain information about the suppliers, and especially about the customers.

Therefore, the supply chain management will be internal and external, covering all points that act directly or indirectly in production.

Therefore, a study must be carried out to learn more about each part of the process, as well as a survey of companies that are referenced in production rates (time, quality, and price).

And good planning is not enough, the finished products at the end of production need to meet the customer’s requirements. For this, contact and loyalty between producer and consumer are essential.

How can agile methodology be applied in the logistics sector?

It is necessary to know the functions performed in the sector.  As it is important to be clear on the purpose of implementing the resource and they are excellent solutions to meet the expectations and needs of projects, providing increased productivity and time optimization.

Through the methodology, the logistics sector gains in dynamics, agility, and flexibility, providing a better customer experience.

It works for the proper fulfillment of the entire supply chain, promoting low cost, reduced time, and the feasibility of changes in logistical processes without generating direct impacts on the initial planning, through the direct response of the team responsible for carrying out the activities.

Because the work cycle is generally shorter in a process that carries out through the insertion of agile methodology, deliveries become more predictable and frequent, making the activity more structured and simpler to evaluate the results.

In addition, the indicators are also more reliable and accurate, providing several improvements in optimizing the steps that make up the logistics sector.

Agile Supply Chains

Agile Operations Chains aim to be faster and demand-driven to overcome the Lead time GAP.

This methodology also allows new technologies, developed and launched on the market, to incorporate into a project under development.

Or when the dynamic world scenario implies some change in customer behavior, it is possible to quickly redesign the product and create new refined versions to meet trends.

Another strong mark of this methodology is the iteration (repetition of an action, in this case, testing and additions to the solution), flexibility, and collaboration among team members.

In addition, the team has more autonomy to make decisions related to the project, without necessarily needing approval from people higher in the organization’s hierarchy.

Agile supply chains should offer the following benefits:

Visibility

Supply chain participants must have full visibility into customer demand, supply sources, stock levels, promotion plans, etc. This visibility should help companies speed up the flow of materials, information, and customers across their organization and accelerate response times.

Flexibility

The main areas are product development, supply, manufacturing, and logistical flexibility.

Speed

The end-to-end cycle from manufacturing to distribution. The shorter the cycle time, the faster responses can be implemented.

predictability

The supply chain response to changes must be predictable for all actors in the chain.

Scalability

The ability to respond to changes in demand.

Lean Supply Chain

An alternative model for the Agile Operations Chain is the concept of the lean supply chain (Lean). Lean supply chains embrace the concept of lean operations across the entire supply chain. Lean supply chains emphasize efficiency.

Efficiency achieves through policies such as minimizing inventories and continuous improvement throughout the supply chain.

7 tips to enhance your planning

1. Integration Software

The use of ERP software will quickly and organize the connection of all sectors of the company. Despite the high investment, ERPs bring greater security and better results.

2. Prepare your team

Once you finish planning the entire team (at all levels of operation) must be aware of the steps and how the process carries out.

3. Balance the flows

It is necessary to find the production bottlenecks. The flows of each step within production need to be aligned so that one does not interfere with the other.

4. Anticipate problems

If some parts of the production chain outsource services, it is important to stress deadlines and contracts with the companies. And always find a plan B in case any of them fails to meet their commitments. Additionally, other vendor contacts are essential for emergencies.

5. Don’t forget about the quality

Even achieving a lean and interconnected production, one cannot forget the quality of the final product. Some tools can help keep the product level.

6. Control your production

Supply chain planning can get out of date after a while, so it’s essential to keep control of production.

Mass Customization

Mass customization describes the ability to produce and distribute what you perceive as personalized goods and services within a large volume or mass market.

Therefore, it is possible to “mass produce” a basic family of products or services that you can customize to the needs of individual customers.

  • Customer contact. Whether a product or service tailored to individual needs.
  • Adaptive. A standard product made to the individual that needs through the use of options.
  • Presentation. Standard products are different for different customers.

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Leonardo Salles

Copywriter for GitScrum.