In simpler times, manufacturers were content to be seamlessly connected with just the parties a link or two away in the supply chain—typically the warehouse and the retailer. But soon that will no longer be enough. As companies begin to compete supply chain to supply chain, the barriers will be removed; everyone—no matter how far up or down the chain—will be expected to be ready to respond to customers' demands. The instant a package of diapers is scanned at, say, a Target or Wal-Mart store, data on the purchase will reverberate through the chain, notifying the buyers, the warehouse, the manufacturer and suppliers all the way back to the plants that make the Triple Leak Shields. Each one will need to be poised and ready to react. It's a future that requires new skills and a new focus. Kimberly-Clark Corp. is at the forefront of this new way of competing. In fact, this is where it's staking its future.
That's why we're focusing our activities on creating capabilities—products, processes and tools— that will ensure leadership for both ourselves and our supply chain partners. Kimberly-Clark defines a successful supply chain as one that leverages the integration between key trading partners to create processes and capabilities that enable us to be first to market with our products at the lowest total delivered cost.
Together we make decisions on minimizing total supply chain costs. In this collaborative model, world-class supply is recognized as a key process for the organization.
We believe that such leadership has to start at the top. At Kimberly-Clark, the CEO, CFO and CIO all understand the enablers of and the obstacles to an efficient supply chain. They also recognize that the supply chain is an integral part of the marketing mix. In an environment characterized by short product life cycles and a dynamic competitive landscape, business leaders are increasingly relying on the supply chain to deliver results. For instance, our diapers undergo two major product improvements per year.Managing these dynamic changes requires a supply chain that is synchronized from source to consumer.
The link between corporate and logistics strategy is iterative. First, the corporate strategy has to be set, with an understanding of what is physically possible in the supply chain. Second, a logistics or supply chain strategy has to be developed that will enable and support the corporate strategy. Changes in one will affect the other. Failure to align the strategies will lead to chaos.
Our goal in the Consumer Logistics groups is to support the top- and bottom-line growth objectives for both Kimberly-Clark and our customers. To do so, we must drive changes in our business processes, systems and organizational structure to take the performance of Kimberly-Clark's supply chain to "best of class" in our industry. This requires us to make decisions as a supply chain and work in concert with our trading partners.
We are addressing this challenge in a variety of ways. Currently we have eight elements that support this strategy. A brief description of the following three elements illustrates our focus.