‘Design-centric businesses have an opportunity to minimise product cost and supply chain cost, and maximise supply chain agility while also minimising supply chain risk’ Professor Omera Khan.
The ‘4Cs’ is a model that I have developed to build a design-centric business. This sets out the guiding organisational principles necessary to optimally align product design with the supply chain.
Cooperation in the extended enterprise, ensuring that the impact of design decisions are understood by both the supply chain function and external suppliers. Through such cooperation, the business and its suppliers jointly mitigate design‑supply chain related risks, and ensure the smooth transition of products through the supply chain to the end customer through early supplier involvement.
Co-location of concurrent design teams, with the design function and the relevant supply chain people being physically close together, in order to aid this close cooperation. All the functions that contribute to the design and development of a product are either physically co‑located together—or if geographically dispersed, are virtually co‑located with information transfer on as near real-time basis as possible—in order to ensure the smooth transition of products from drawing board to market.
Cross-functional multidisciplinary teams of design professionals and supply chain professionals working concurrently, jointly contributing to the design process. These teams can also involve first- and second-tier suppliers, in order to benefit from early supplier involvement.
A product champion, tasked with making sure that this dialogue takes place, and who is responsible for making the final call on its outcomes in terms of design decisions. The product champion manages the interface between design and supply chain functions, oversees the concurrent design process, and ensures that there is a match between the product architecture and supply chain design.