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Supply chain


Keynote speaker at the recent Supply Chain and Transportation one2one summit, Lalit Wadhwa of Avnet Electronics Marketing, spoke about the importance of increased visibility in the modern supply chain

Lalit Wadhwa, vice president, global supply chain operations at Avnet Electronics Marketing

The high­tech industry sits within a vastly complex and international ecosystem. Understanding the entirety of this ecosystem reveals why supply chain visibility is vital to global, multi­ enterprise business operations.

Suppliers, manufacturing facilities,

transport providers and customers may be dispersed globally. Shrinking product lifecycles, product obsolescence and rapid evolution of the technology are characteristics that underpin this industry. Global regulatory frameworks, trade compliance requirements and an increasing concern for sustainability must also be taken into account.

These somewhat sprawling operations can leave companies

vulnerable to disruption events that could lead to loss of revenue or customers. It becomes critical for companies to attempt to have visibility into different parts of their supply chain in order to control their network rather than being at the mercy of it.

Some customers may only want visibility on the supply side of

their value network. Others may be concerned with the demand side of operations. End­to­end visibility covers all aspects of the value network including supply, demand, transportation and manufacture. Visibility allows individuals at all stages of the value network access to relevant data points so that collaborative, ‘real­ time’ decisions can be made. The single largest risk of not having end­to­end visibility is that weaknesses and risks cannot be

18 | February 2014

identified. This makes it impossible to create a robust response management protocol to mitigate or minimize risks.

Risks to customers can be divided into three

core categories. The first is inefficient utilization of working capital. The second is higher than average operating costs. The final manifestation of lack of supply chain visibility that is frequently seen is the failure to meet the demands of the end customer, which directly results in missed revenue, customer retention challenges and dissatisfied customers. Over a period of time, all of these factors being left unmanaged are significantly detrimental to the overall health of a company.

Avnet provides a multi­tiered visibility platform that can take into

account the full length and breadth of the supply chain. All value network partners can be considered and visibility can project not only into the coming year but the coming five years. The idea is to eliminate, mitigate or minimize the risks of all potential disruptive events. Avnet acts like a supply chain integrator, aggregating a vast array of data points across supply chain domains. A kind of ‘product pipeline’ can be produced to map out the value network, revealing constraints and aligning supply with demand. Other data such as inventory levels, the age of the inventory, end of life of the product or the obsolescence cycle of a product can be monitored.

Over the last three years, customers’ demands have become

more complex, with them demanding bespoke solutions and specifically requesting visibility on the demand side. Avnet’s control tower platform is a cloud­based, ‘enterprise collaboration hub’, which connects all value network partners. It provides a complete, dynamic solution that not only brings the platform technology, but the expertise to design those processes in line with the policies that the customer has specified. The brand owner

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