One of my very favorite dishes, both to cook and to eat, is Kaeng khiao wan. It translates literally as “Sweet Green Curry” but is probably best known simply as Thai Green Curry.

It’s one of those things that, done badly, can be pedestrian and forgettable, but that done well is a thing of joy. At the most basic you can simply buy a jar of paste and add it to some stir fried chicken, or vegetables, and heat it through. This will give a passable approximation of a Thai green curry – fairly tasty, not particularly authentic, probably not as nutritious as a recipe using fresh ingredients and certainly nothing like as satisfying.

Like many popular dishes, people will have their recipes of choice; my own includes birds-eye chillies, shallots, fresh ginger, garlic, fresh coriander, lemongrass, limes, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, ground coriander, cumin, fish sauce and cane sugar.

There are many flavors there; however one of the things that I enjoy most about making this dish is getting the balance right, between heat and sourness, citrus and sweetness. It’s almost as though I have a set of levers that I must push or pull just so far in the right direction, to make the dish work. Too much fish sauce and it gets too salty, add too much cane sugar it becomes too sweet, just the right amount of lime juice to lift out the other flavours, not so much that the citrus tang dominates.

So, what has this to do with the Integrated Supply Chain?

An Integrated Supply Chain needs the right preparation and planning to work efficiently. The most effective supply chain is arrived at by studying the client’s supply chain strategy and by testing various scenarios – to achieve the best ‘recipe’ for success. All of the elements must be part of the mix – like ingredients in a recipe; forecasting and replenishment, inventory management, promotional forecasting, lifecycle and assortment management. And just like with a recipe, all these are rarely found in just one store…

What one aims to do is to arrive at a “recipe” that offers the optimum process by which to integrate one’s Supply Chain; data can be gathered to provide actionable intelligence, powered by an in-memory platform which helps one better understand performance by measuring it against critical KPIs. Think of it as ‘adding a bit of this and a bit of that and having a quick slurp’. But rather than the technology provider acting as the chef and simply presenting the customers with a dish on a plate, providers should lay out all the ingredients before the customer, guide them towards creating the prefect blend of flavors but also encouraging them to tweak the heat, sourness, citrus notes and sweetness to their own taste.

In supply chain terms we think it is better for clients to have the power to take control of the process themselves, to be able to set their own business rules and parameters, adjust everything to their ways of working and, above all, be able to enact any changes they need independently of the provider, thus avoiding the cost and delay of change requests. In a complex multi-echelon supply chain, you need to know that store demand changes are reflected up stream at the same moment – so corrective action can be taken by ‘pulling the right lever’. If you have the right “balance”, DC and store inventories will be optimised, and product availability will increase.

We’ve tailored systems to our customers individual needs and goals, and have managed to integrate our clients internal supply chain with exciting results. Overall spoilage fell around 10% while that of chilled products fell over 20%. Simultaneously the shelf availability increased.

So just like making a really memorable curry dish, the business of creating an integrated supply chain involves understanding the components and processes used to create it so that one can strike a perfect balance!


Want more information? If you wish to read more on supply chain integration and best practices, read our whitepaper:
Supply chain integration – Blurring boundaries to deliver results

Marc Darling

Marc Darling

Former Sales Manager, UK&I, MBA


Marc Darling's expertise in many areas of supply chain has led to his being asked to write articles, speak at conferences and contribute to networking events.

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