|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Supply chain management|
Irrespective of the success Home Depot so far, the company still needs to invest in an improved supply chain management strategy. It would guarantee that the firm not only successfully meets the quantity needs of the consumers, but also that it addresses the quality specifications based on consumer expectations. In particular, the new operations strategy intends to focus more on consumers as opposed to the suppliers. Therefore, it would need to address issues such as adequate supply and effective business operation for it to succeed in meeting the market interests.
Notably, meeting the predetermined productivity targets requires that the firm focuses on addressing product weaknesses. Firstly, the current operational strategy has often focused too much on the cost of products from suppliers, which has often led to slow product movement in some of the company's depots. Secondly, lack of a clear form of analysis of product movement from the company's shelves has been a problem in proper identification of goods in need of replacement. Consequently, the development of a real-time analysis of product sales could ultimately help reduce product lifecycle on the store shelves, thereby increasing the rate of inventory turnover.
For a company providing goods to clients on both internet and brick and mortar stores, it is always important that the product design be equivalent to the consumer expectations, and verifiable enough with ease to reduce the rate of returns or inconvenience. In this case, an ideal product design would be based on a market analysis of the previous sales records in different markets, based on which a forecast would help determine the most ideal products to take onto the new operations approach. Therefore, Home Depot will not only be in a position to provide goods based on the exact consumer needs, but it will also meet such needs without failure resulting from lack of the goods in the company's inventory.
Nonetheless, a successful implementation of the product design would need an appropriate supply strategy. The sources of the goods in question need to be reliable enough, such that consumers do not end up returning the products due to lack of adherence to their preferred specifications. In essence, online product consumers always seek convenience and will lose the trust of a particular online sales store if they consistently get products that fail to meet their expectations (Lim & Dubinsky, 2004). Ultimately, Home Depot needs to pay attention to the quality of goods supplied to the stores.
Secondly, having an ideal inventory management system increases the chances of realizing the inventory due for restocking whenever it is necessary. An investment in an ideal technology software will be integral to helping the firm achieve such ease in management of the firm's inventory. Thirdly, an ideal forecasting method, based on the history of sales will provide an ideal strategy in anticipating possible changes in market demand, based on which the company will adjust the inventory as necessary. In essence, these three strategies align with the company's operations strategy that seeks to focus on consumer needs.
Ultimately, every company's supply network needs to align with its interests in a particular market. In most cases, organizations build their supply chain around the primary areas of focus, and will always seek to address the needs of the key components, to guarantee success in the supply process. For instance, f the focus is on the cost of goods, the firm will seek the lowest priced products from the manufacturers, for it to sell the same goods to consumers at the lowest prices in the market. For such a business, their entire activities in the supply chain are intended to reduce the cost of the process.
Similarly, one of the key components of the supply chain at Home Depot is the consumer. The need for a change in the company's operations strategy implies that the firm intends to achieve success in meeting consumer needs as necessary. Therefore, as opposed to consistently adjusting various aspects to suit the comfort of suppliers, the firm will seek to have their suppliers adjust their comfort to meet the needs of the consumers. Ultimately, such an approach would make consumers the heart of the supply chain management strategy.
Secondly, the product would be an essential part of the supply chain management, as it determines the firm's appeal to the market. Most especially, as the firm moves to a strategy in which it will incorporate the online and physical store sales into its operations, it will be important to maintain consistency in the quality of goods received by consumers who purchase from either one of the two options. Otherwise, higher quality goods and options to choose from for the consumers who visit the physical stores could end up in a negative reputation for the online retail stores, resulting in poor popularity and potential failure of the online retail option.
In addition to the parts of the market condition, the firm needs to consider factors that could influence successful implementation of the supply chain management practices. As earlier indicated, product quality is one of the issues often of significance to the consumers. As long as the quality of a particular good meets the expected qualifications, then the supply process proceeds without a hitch. Otherwise, poor product quality could necessitate mitigation measures that adversely affect the product delivery to consumers. Additionally, factors such as supplier location and consumer interests would affect the sourcing, and purchasing of the products, particularly due to the diversity of the company's market in the Americas.
Addressing these issues would require adequate and appropriate planning by the management of effective product supply aspects. In any case, providing the supply with a set of factors to consider in delivering the product to a retailer reduces the chances of failure to comply (Petersen, Handfield, & Ragatz, 2005). Similarly, Home Depot needs to provide a clear set of expectations to its suppliers, to reduce any possible chances of failure in the product quality. On the other hand, understanding the market conditions and identification of suppliers who would meet such conditions with ease would guarantee that geographical differences do not end up influencing the sourcing of the company's products. Ultimately, all these solutions would depend on the firm's planning efficiency.
Irrespective of the efficiency in supply chain management, identification of future issues in the firm would be critical to the successful implementation of the operations strategy. Consequently, an ideal quality management approach would be with technology to achieve successful quality management. For instance, quality construction materials often meet certain specification measures that would otherwise be undetectable in the absence of certain technology. Technology helps guarantee adherence to predetermined standards for the business, which would, in turn, increase the company's dependence by the firm.
Another of the commonly used methods in increasing efficiency within businesses is the just-in-time philosophy. The philosophy effectively reduces resource wastage by ensuring that a firm acquires resources whenever they are necessary for the production process (Kannan & Tan, 2005). In this case, Home Depot would use the strategy to ensure that goods are sourced from producers when the demand for the said goods is relatively high. In essence, the philosophy would help increase the rate of inventory turnover, improve efficiency, and promote the ease of planning within the firm. Additionally, it promotes quality assurance by increasing the management's quality assessment, reducing the time products spend on the shelves, and increase the chances of consumers accessing newly made products based on the existing technology trends in the construction sector.
However, a successful implementation of the just-in-time philosophy requires appropriate qualitative and quantitative forecasting methods to anticipate possible changes in consumer behavior. In this case, an ideal approach would be the use of a time series method, which would require the use of historical data to appropriately implement. In essence, the method uses scientifically proven approaches to determine possible future changes in consumption, in turn altering the potential marketing approaches for the company. For instance, if Home Depot decided to use a time series approach, it would experience ease in determining the potential demand for certain products during the winter season, thereby influencing the company's marketing and purchase behavior in anticipation of the potential changes in demand for the said product.
Kannan, V. R., & Tan, K. C. (2005). Just in time, total quality management, and supply chain management: understanding their linkages and impact on business performance. Omega, 33(2), 153-162.
Lim, H., & Dubinsky, A. J. (2004). Consumers' perceptions of e-shopping characteristics: an expectancy-value approach. Journal of Services Marketing, 18(7), 500-513.
Petersen, K. J., Handfield, R. B., & Ragatz, G. L. (2005). Supplier integration into new product development: coordinating product, process, and supply chain design. Journal of operations management, 23(3-4), 371-388.
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