Achieving competitive advantage through network transformation
Designing and operating effective global networks is a fundamental source of competitive advantage for manufacturers. As networks have become increasingly complex and fragmented, it is more important than ever that international manufacturers are able to ‘make the right things in the right places’, have agile and resilient supply chains, and the right people and processes to run them.
Identifying and exploiting opportunities
In recent years many companies have undergone rapid global expansion in order to access new markets and cheaper resources. At the same time, firms within supply chains have had to become more specialised in order to master increasingly complex technologies. And these specialised firms tend to be located all round the world. Optimising such complex networks so that they deliver the manufacturer’s strategic aims is challenging, particularly as each network partner has its own goals and business models.
However, getting this right is an opportunity to achieve significant competitive advantage. Well-designed networks can:
- deliver more innovative products and services at a lower cost
- respond to rapidly changing market conditions
- secure access to scarce resources
- remain resilient in the face of an increasingly unpredictable external environment.
How we can help
We have worked with more than fifty leading companies on network projects and have developed a set of structured approaches which support organisations through strategic and operational change. We can work with companies to address specific challenges or opportunities, or we can take a ‘whole system’ approach to achieve maximum competitive advantage from network optimisation. We also provide executive and professional development to improve companies’ network capabilities.
Designing an effective network
By an effective network, we mean one that has its assets in the right places, has an efficient, resilient and agile supply network, and the right people and processes to run it.
How do you move from where you are now to having the best network for your organisation?
Our four-step approach uses a combination of data analysis and decision tools, enabled through workshops with senior stakeholders, to build a deep understanding of key drivers and support informed decision-making. The result is a network transformation strategy that is both ambitious and practical. It is also ‘owned’ by the management team and fully supported by those tasked with putting it into practice.
- Context mapping and landscaping is used to clarify external drivers and to identify potential opportunities for – and threats to – your organisation.
- We analyse your current networks within your business context to validate the opportunities identified above and to reveal others. We do this by looking both at how your assets are organised and your capabilities for managing them.
- We design new networks that will capitalise on those opportunities, again both by configuring your assets and developing your capabilities.
- The final step is network transformation. We work with you to put in place the new network design and support you in developing new capabilities you might need, particularly through executive and professional development.
Connecting the unconnected: New thinking on next generation supply chains. As the annual Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium marks its twentieth year Dr Tomás Harrington, Dr Jag Srai and Paul Christodoulou from the IfM’s Centre for International Manufacturing (CIM) reflect on the new supply chain thinking that is emerging from companies such as Cisco, Coca-Cola, Jaguar Land Rover, Johnson Matthey, Cambridge University Press and Schneider Electric.
Choosing the right approach
The design process may identify particular areas for improvement –
production, supply or product–service networks – or prompt a ‘whole network’
transformation project. We have four approaches (see below) to address
each of these eventualities and help organisations achieve their strategic
goals. But network improvement does not stop there. Further challenges and
opportunities lie ahead and we are developing a new set of techniques to
In addition, we provide executive and professional development programmes
to help companies build their capabilities. We can also guide and support them
through the process of network transformation.
|Transforming global production footprints to reduce cost and increase responsiveness
Our approach guides the design of global production networks to lower costs, improve access to growing markets and vital resources, and enhance agility and resilience in the face of changing market conditions.
|Gaining competitive advantage from an effective end-to-end supply chain
We can help you redesign your supply chain and enhance your operating capabilities to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.
|Designing global value networks for emerging and disruptive technologies
New technologies and disruptive business models are forcing changes to existing networks and creating new ones. We support corporate strategists (and government policymakers) by mapping complex industrial ecosystems, designing new global networks in response to disruption and integrating these networks to improve performance.
|Developing a successful service supply network
More and more global companies are offering services to support their products but these services often need several primary suppliers working together to deliver them. We have extended our network configuration tools to provide a clear framework for integrating the activities of different partners.
|Addressing tomorrow’s network challenges
We have also developed a number of approaches to address some of the most pressing strategic challenges facing companies: how to create more resilient and sustainable networks, how to manage network integration after a merger or acquisition, and how to develop smarter supply networks in response to innovations in e-commerce.
|Executive and professional development
Global networks need people with the right knowledge and skills and the ability to both drive and manage change. We provide bespoke executive and professional development programmes to nurture your in-house talent and build their capabilities.
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If you are interested to find out more, please contact:
T: +44 (0) 7766 006852
T: +44 (0)7736 168163
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