Industry Forum

What is Supply Chain Management?

As customer and consumer expectations rise, so does the need for more efficient and responsive supply chains. The flexibility and scalability required for high value-added consumer goods are setting new performance standards for industrial products and production.

Economic pressures including rising fuel costs, global expansion, low cost off-shore competition and tight manufacturing capacities continue to stretch a supply chain team’s ability to reduce costs while meeting these ever-increasing customer expectations.

To complicate matters, finding and retaining qualified supply chain talent continues to be an issue, which is why Industry Forum offers a broad suite of Supply Chain consultancy, training, certifications and support to help your organisation meet these challenges.

Manufacturing firms must adapt quickly to remain competitive otherwise an inefficient, poorly functioning supply chain will impact negatively on every aspect of a business.

Supply Chain Consulting - What do we do?


How well does your business perform compared to your competitors?

How well does your business perform compared to leaders in other sectors?

Benchmarking areas in supply chain include:

  • Goods In/ Goods Out Processing
  • Warehousing and Distribution – including 3PL/ 4PL contracted business
  • Supply Chain Management – Demand Management and Forecasting, Inventory Management, Supply Chain Strategy and Priorities, Customer and Supplier Service
  • Procurement/ Purchasing

Cost to Serve Analysis:

We calculate the actual cost of buying, handling, storing and moving the products as separate elements of your supply chain, rather than the traditional accounting method of the blanket distribution of costs across a number of product categories.

This allows you to understand the true costs of supplying your customers and identifies areas for improvement and profit enhancement.

This process involves end to end supply chain analysis considering volume, processing costs, transportation methods and warehouse productivity.

Physical Supply Chain Reviews - Warehousing and Distribution

Process Improvement:

We analyse your processes and workflows to identify strengths, weaknesses and gaps. Working with you to understand your priorities, we develop solutions and can support you in successful change implementation.

Warehouse Layout:

Are you struggling for space?  Is your warehouse full, aisles and doorways blocked? Or are you constantly battling for access – with low productivity rates and workers idle in your operation? We can review your current layout and process flows and develop and design more efficient warehouse layouts to increase productivity and improve your supply.

Network Design and Warehouse Moves:

Is your distribution network giving you the best results? Looking to move but not sure which location is best? We can support you to understand your current and future requirements, assess best fit locations and model your options before you make your move.

Our team can model your future requirements, support you through design and build or new warehousing, negotiate leasing of existing warehousing and exit from your current premises.

When the time comes to move the physical stock, we will develop a transition plan to ensure minimal disruption to your business.

Systems and IT:

Are legacy systems holding you back? Are your team reliant on excel spreadsheets and paper based solutions? Working with you to understand your unique requirements, we have an experience of successful implementation of a range of WMS and automation systems.

If you don’t think you’re getting the most from your current system, one of our advisors can review its performance and help to negotiate and implement an improved offering from your provider.

Logistics and Transport:

The cost of logistics and transport is too often overlooked as a ‘necessity’ without real understanding of the performance, effectiveness and structure behind the operation.

Our experts can help you to identify and manage the elements of your logistics and transport operation in order to optimise your solution and improve both service and profit.

It’s recommended to review and contractual agreements with logistics providers every 3-5 years to ensure you’re getting the best service.

Are you interested in outsourcing your logistics operation?

Are you reaching the end of your current agreement?

Are you in a contractual logistics agreement but haven’t done a formal review for a number of years?

We can support you to understand your current and future requirements, identify opportunities for improvements with route optimisation, consolidation, backhaul or fleet selection.

One of our team will manage any tender and contracting process from beginning to end, ensuring a smooth transition and clarity throughout.  Our experience means we can support you to get the best results through cost, service and re-negotiation.

If you’re looking to implement IT systems to support route planning or fleet optimisation make sure you are supported from end to end. From detailed analysis and design, through to selection, implementation and training, we can help you achieve a successful implementation.

Forecasting, Demand and Inventory Management:

Poor forecasts, poor inventory management, and unsuitable demand planning processes could be costing you significantly, tying up capital and eroding your bottom line profit.

Are you holding high levels of inventory to compensate from poor forecasting and planning?

Are you constantly out of stock of key lines yet overstocked on slow movers?

Are your team relying on excel spreadsheets or ‘gut feelings’ for forecasting sales and demand?

We can help you to understand the root causes of the issues within your planning function and identify ways to resolve them.  Contact us now to unlock the trapped capital in your business.

Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP):

Sales and Operations Planning brings together Sales, Operations, Finance and Senior Management to ensure the heart of the business is aligned to the strategic direction of the Board.

How well does your S&OP process really work? Are your departments truly aligned?

When push comes to shove, is it Sales that run the show, or operations that lead the decision making?

A fully integrated S&OP that allows for collaboration within the business in a structured and controlled way can be difficult to achieve,  but not impossible.  Our wealth of experience will ensure your S&OP process is right for you.

With a focus on a simple, achievable process which delivers instead of a regimented process drowning in theory that does nothing to enhance your performance.

Good S&OP doesn’t need to be complicated.

We can design, implement and restructure your S&OP process and deliver internal training to ensure your team continue to make it work.

Product Lifecycle Management:

Introducing new products to market can be extremely challenging. Our unique approach includes a combined process review and improvement project along with tailored training to your team to ensure all future launches run smoothly.

Managing end of life product to maximise sales whilst minimise remaining obsolete stock within your business is all part of our lifecycle management review.

Supply Chain Systems Implementation:

Looking to implement new software to support your business? Any systems implementation is difficult – from design, selection, right through to installation and transfer from legacy systems the potential for failure is enormous.

It’s unlikely that the business will regularly do a system change – so why not let us support you?

We regularly support businesses through systems implementation in: WMS, Automation in the warehouse, Forecasting and Demand planning systems, ERP systems, EDI systems, Operational Planning System as well as end to end financial management systems.

We know the right questions to ask. We know the key risk areas and ways to avoid failure. We have worked with many different system providers and can help you through tender and selection to make sure you choose the system that is right for you.

Let us manage the implementation project so that your people can focus on what you hired them to do. At the end of the project, we can train and support your staff to ease the transition.

Find out how Industry Forum could help you with your Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) with our free S&OP Checklist

Supply Chain Case Studies

Gardner Aerospace

Developments in the UK Nuclear Supply Chain

Global Opportunities in the UK Automotive Supply Chain

Challenges facing the UK Automotive Supply Chain

Get in touch and talk to us

Industry Forum can provide a range of services to help improve your organisation’s manufacturing.  We don’t offer one single standard solution, instead we get to know your organisation, your people and the environment within which you operate before working with you to find an approach that is tailored to your requirements, meeting your specific needs and addressing your most pressing challenges.

Industry Forum can provide you with a range of expertise to support initiatives from large manufacturing improvement programmes across a multi-site organisation to single projects in an individual plant. Industry Forum has a proven record of helping manufacturers of all sizes achieve their operational goals.

From design right through to implementation we pride ourselves on our ability to transfer the necessary skills to your people and to ensure that you benefit from tangible and sustainable improvements to your business.

What Next?

For further information and an initial confidential discussion of your needs, please call +44 (0)121 717 6600 or email us today.

Contact Us