Checklist for network design

Checklist for network design

A company’s ability to evaluate multiple ‘what-if’ scenarios and make rapid decisions with a high level of confidence is what keeps supply chains moving during disruptions like COVID-19. But what can you do if you don’t have an existing network design model to evaluate scenarios?

Every supply chain organization seeks an optimally designed network to reduce costs while improving its effici, customer service levels and competitive advantage. Furthermore, organizational leaders understand that changes in demand, service expectations, market costs and reverse logistics – to name but a few – can affect the effectiveness of supply chain networks. Therefore, network design must be periodically re-evaluated to either confirm design optimization or determine whether a restructure is needed. However, this tends to be quite costly.

Outside Expertise

Bringing in outside expertise from a reputable consulting firm seems like a logical choice, and there can be good reasons to do so; the consultant team will have the bandwidth and skills to provide the right network strategy. But as soon as the company has identified the optimal strategy, the assumptions and conditions supporting the strategy begin changing. And, depending on the frequency with which the consultants are re-engaged, a time and revenue gap occurs impacting time to value. To overcome this, some consulting firms have started offering ‘network design as a service’ where a small dedicated team constantly updates and enhances the network design model. By having part of this team off-shore this approach is not only very effective, but also cost efficient.

Another approach organizations often consider involves bringing in a consulting firm alongside an internal team that will transition into an internal Centre of Excellence (CoE) to provide regular future model data updates and adjustments as needed. Ideally this is linked to the monthly or quarterly tactical business planning cycle (IBP/S&OP). This can work well under the right conditions, but unfortunately many organizations have found maintaining a CoE to be difficult in the long term.

Network analysis on a regular basis

Supply chain consulting firm Chainalytics and Supply Chain Media have developed a checklist for the possible outsourcing of supply chain design. Answer these 10 questions and find out whether this activity is strategic and should be done in-house, or whether you should outsource it to a specialist.

Download the checklist

Fill in the form below and do the checklist for network design.