People, Process, and Technology – I’ve heard those stated over and over from a ‘framework’ point of view as the essentials of good supply chain management. I think it’s very incomplete. I’ve worked with companies with great people – dedicated 10- 20- and 30- year professionals in their supply chain roles. Processes, while not meticulously documented and automated, were well-understood, repeatable, and performed to expectation. A company may have great ERP, MRP, and other systems to have high fairly automated environments. Yet, customers are defecting. Inventory is out of control perhaps – both too much and too little, a wonderful paradox. Costs are escalating faster than inflation.
When I talk to these organizations, what is strikingly evident is that they are very internally focused – I did my process at the right time, our ERP has great capabilities, my team is very experienced in our product, we have a six-sigma team that’s constantly looking for improvements. The gotcha is when I ask about end-to-end supply chain performance, and market expectation – the blank look. Let me give you Joe’s five pillars of supply chain management – Markets, Metrics, People, Process, and Technology. Continue reading
Late in 2010 I had the pleasure of an intense travel itinerary through Australia and New Zealand. There, I met hundreds of supply chain professionals who were interested in SCC and my presentation topic, “The New Reality” of Supply Chain Management, which is a compilation of the key trends that emerged from our recent Executive Summit. On a personal level, it was refreshing to be in the Southern Hemisphere in the summertime for once. Continue reading
I have a certain fondness for reading about mathematics. One topic that I find especially interesting concerns the “great unsolved problems” in mathematics. A good example is Fermat’s Last Theorem. Fermat conjectured that there are no whole-number solutions for the equation
an + bn = cn,
where a, b, c, and n are all integers. I don’t lay awake at night thinking about such problems, but it is interesting to read about the various strategies mathematicians have attempted as they struggled to solve these problems.
I think there are also a handful of “great unsolved problems” in Supply Chain process management which are very simple to state, painfully difficult to solve, and, if completely solved, would radically change the entire field. Continue reading
In the world of ideas, there are two that touch on what I view as the chief value of supply chain process management, and, while seemingly contradictory, they are actually mutually re-enforcing. Continue reading