There are a number of cogs that go into the vast and necessary machine of logistics, all matters relating to the creation and distribution of a product fall under the blanket of ‘supply chain’. The supply chain model encapsulates the whole process and includes all people, organisations, resources, activities and technology used in the formulation and distribution of a product.

Segmented into various stages of the distribution and production process, a good and reliable supply chain is only as good as the organisations that encompass them. Like any malleable system of organisation, a supply chain can be broken down into a number of sub-categories and considered with different degrees of focus, entirely dependent on the corresponding sector that is utilising them.

The 6 Supply Chain Models

In essence, there are 6 different supply chain models that one can adapt for their business, with each one having a degree of focus in either ‘responsiveness’ or overall ‘efficacy’. While each model will attempt to fulfill both of these factors, each one is approached in a different manner and with different favours which is dependent on the goals and constraints of the business implementing them.

When considering the below models, it’s important to filter them through the eyes and framework of the prospective industry, then it can be easier to determine which supply chain model is best suited for the focuses and endgames for each situation.

1. Efficient

This particular supply chain model is perfectly suited for competitive industries where price point becomes a dominant factor. Intense market competition can be a positive motivator for certain industries and integrating this model into the management will ensure a more robust competitive edge for pricing and demand.

End-to-end efficiency is the name of the game in this model, with special attention being paid to ensuring machinery is working at peak efficiency to reduce overall costs. There’s also a focus on accurate forecasting to ensure that demand is consistently being met.

2. Fast

The fast supply chain model is suitable for products with a short lifespan and quick turnaround. There are many companies in the fashion industry that live by this model for good reason. The quick turnaround time is imperative for trendsetting industries and those who require a fast turnaround from idea to implementation, special attention should also be paid to forecast accuracy to ensure maximum efficiency can b

3. Continuous-Flow

This supply chain model is perfectly suited for a more mature industry that has very little change in the status quo. The demand and manufacturing processes are typically reflected in a long-standing line of data and analyses that ensure no bumps are found along the road. Stability is the name of the game with this model, with customer expectations being stagnant over a long period of time, but never wavering.

4. Agile

The agile model is very useful for companies that tailor-create their products to suit specific customer specifications. A heavier focus is on excess production capacity and in relatively smaller amounts than other models to better suit a consistent flow of new specification-based productions. Being a little more reflexive, this model can be used for unpredictable industries as well.

5. Custom-Configured

A popular model in the automotive industry, the custom-configured supply chain model is a mixture of an agile flexibility with a more continuous-flow directive in its execution. The main differentials that exist in this model is typically in the assembly and production stages of development. With the automotive example, cars can be produced and configured using particular parts and sub-assemblies to configure slightly with each product.

6. Flexible

As the name suggests, the flexible supply chain model is wholly focused on the ability to adapt through peak periods of intense demand, followed by lengths that are low-level. This model is perfectly suited for industries that have a somewhat predictable stream of demand spikes throughout any given time period and can be adjusted quickly and adapted when needed.