It has been discovered that one size does not fit all when it comes to coming up with a supply chain to support a wide range of products in different markets. The marketplaces are currently volatile and predicting of demand is the difficulty. Companies have implemented various strategies in order to remain competitive in the market such as focus, cost leadership and differentiation. (Christopher & Towill, 2002). Focus refers to providing of goods to a specific target market that has been identified by the manufacturers. On the other hand, cost leadership is the ability of the company to price less the same products its competitors is offering while differentiation is distinguishing of a product or services from others in order to make it more attractive to the target market. Looking at these strategies, manufacturers that are seeking a competitive advantage through product differentiation are implementing agile supply strategy while those seeking cost leadership in order to have a competitive edge are utilizing lean supply strategy (Christopher & Towill, 2002)
The most significant thing in lean approach is to focus on waste reduction for cost leadership to be successful. Notably, in lean manufacturing, a key lean production element is the supply relationship management whereby there should be a mutual trust and motivation between customer and supplier. Furthermore, the implementation of lean supply should reflect low cost of the transaction and enhanced information sharing. Therefore, suppliers in lean supply are required to take part in eliminating of removable wastes within the commodity pipeline (Christopher & Towill, 2002)
The major goal of using agile supply chain approach is to enable alignment flexibility so as to create differentiation through service levels among manufacturers. As such, the key agile administration elements are the adjustment of the material to meet the market need and competition requirement as well as focusing on solving of relationship issues(Ismail & Sharifi, 2006).Consequently, the customers-supplier relationship is needed in agile manufacturing in order to generate the excellent degree of trust and coordination. It is, therefore, essential for the manufacturers to focus on production, design, product marketing and overall management to make sure that they react quickly to market changes. It is, therefore, advisable that for manufacturers to use both lean and agile in order to remain competitive. The two can work in the same market environment but at different times with the companys supply chain (Ismail & Sharifi, 2006).
HP is one of the multinational companies that face a lot of challenges just like any other company in its supply chain. In the year 1998, the company came up with a strategic planning modeling for internal consulting. Consequently, SPaM has made a lot of essential contribution in the global supply chain system of HP. Hewlett-Packard being one of the companies with a wide global supply chain, some of this pipeline designs for supply chain management would fit well in its supply chain. For example, HP is a multinational corporation that manufactures software, hardware, and related services to consumers globally. Therefore, HP is a company that lately ensures agility in order to make sure that it does not lose the market share due to increased competition in the information technology industry(Hewlett-Packard Company, 2014).
The companys strategic aims are capitalizing on empowering enterprises and consumer products to protect and deliver cloud as well mobile driven services. HP has developed an innovative approach that deals with transportation uncertainties in Europe. For instance, it has centralized its manufacture of printers to one warehouse in Holand that supplies all of north Africana and Europe. By doing this, the company is seeking the perceptions as the most accessible and responsive supplier in the information technology industry (Hewlett-Packard Company, 2014).HP experienced the ascending of information into billions of dollars worrying dissatisfaction of customers with a fulfillment of orders. The company opted for the agile strategy where it adopted the design for manufacturability as attitude while developing its products (Hewlett-Packard Company, 2014).
Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ). (2014, October 10). In Yahoo! Retrieved from http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=HPQ
Christopher, M., & Towill, D. R. (2002). Developing market specific supply chain strategies. International Journal of Logistics Management, 13 (1), 1-14. doi:10.1108/09574090210806324
Ismail , H. S., & Sharifi , H. (2006). A balanced approach to building agile supply chains. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 36 (6), 431-444. doi:10.1108/09600030610677384
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