Success Means Reacting Swiftly to Change

Wrage and Meissner smiling into camera

Dr. Jörn Meissner, Full Professor of Supply Chain Management & Pricing Strategy at KLU, emphasized that: “the most important success factor for industry and manufacturing nowadays is execution speed – including the ability to react swiftly to changes in customer demands and preferences.”

He illustrated this by giving examples of companies that have successfully implemented new, innovative production and logistics paradigms and discussing them in more detail at the Supply Chain Management event organized by Hamburg-based software provider DAKOSY. Over 70 customers, including representatives from freight forwarders, shipping lines, trade and production, attended the event.

Meissner’s talk highlighted two ongoing trends. First, he drew attention to the fact that supply chain might not be the correct term these days – supply network would be a more appropriate description of the way in which production and distribution systems have evolved. He proved his point with the case of a consumer electronics producer, showing the multiple movements of unfinished goods during the production process.

Next, Meissner pointed out the recent success of fashion retailers who have moved their production close to their markets – Europe, for example. Despite higher production costs due to the higher wage levels in Europe and surrounding countries, this strategy has proven to be extremely profitable. It leads to more responsive, agile production that can react to changes in consumer demand and preferences within very short time periods. The resulting higher sales and lower leftover inventory have more than compensated for the higher production costs. Meissner noted that this is a good example of when putting as much emphasis on the revenue side of a business has shown to be a better strategy than simply trying to reduce costs.

In conclusion, Meissner discussed the need for good IT systems, calling them the backbone that allows flexible, responsive supply networks to function seamlessly.

More information about Jörn Meissner.