Businesses urged to wash up supply chain inefficiencies

Businesses have been urged to make efforts to reduce supply chain inefficiencies, which among others significantly contribute to uncompetitive behaviour.

Chief executive officer of Bramer Life Insurance, Regina Sikalesele-Vaka said businesses should evolve their management styles to focus on the supply chain management in order to stimulate competition.

Giving a keynote address at the fourth national competition conference for stakeholders that was held in Gaborone yesterday, she said while supply chains have existed for a long time, most organisations have only paid attention to what was happening within their organisations.

“Few businesses understood, much less managed, the entire chain of activities that ultimately delivered products to the final customer. The result was disjointed and often ineffective supply chains,” she said.

According to Sikalesele-Vaka, supply chain management is the active management of supply chain activities to maximise customer value and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

She added that it represents a conscious effort by the supply chain firms to develop and run supply chains in the most effective and efficient ways possible.

She also said supply chain activities cover everything from product development, sourcing, production, and logistics, as well as the information systems needed to coordinate these activities.

Sikalesele-Vaka regretted that the concept of supply chain management has not yet embedded in management practise.

“Although as the private sector, we are always quick to apportion blame on the government, in the case of the lack of management of the supply chain, the private sector is equally inadvertent,” she said.

However, she pointed out that government as the biggest consumer of goods and services has more influence over shaping the competitive landscape, adding that this influence has not been utilised resulting in the poor service delivery in some parts of government.

She further commended government for having succeeded in creating an enabling environment for business and a comprehensive network of checks and balances involving legislation, policies, regulatory bodies and policing agencies to reduce the risk of business failure.

“It is this lack of executive management focus on the supply chain by both private and public sector that is the hindrance to competition because organisations are too comfortable with their suppliers to change the status quo,” added Sikalesele-Vaka.

Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Sadique Kebonang implored businesses to build and sustain a healthy culture of competition because it is a starting point for innovation and competitiveness. He said modern market realities are such that a market cannot function and deliver without a fair supply chain from input supplies to consumption.

He stated that businesses in the various sectors are integrated from production, supplies, transport, wholesale and retail.

“It is important to understand the massive contributions that each sector brings to the supply chain, not just producers and suppliers, but countless value adding businesses along the chain,” said Kebonang.

He indicated that the country would never be globally competitive unless it produced excellent products and services for both the local and global markets.

“It is our belief that the starting point for global competitiveness is not just access to markets, but fair competition between the enterprises in the various stages of the supply chain,” he said.

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