Flying this week, I had my iPad full of magazines to keep me comfortably occupied in what to me are increasingly small seats – perhaps an indication of becoming older, or at least wider – and I was struck by the volume of references to Supply Chain across a wide spectrum of publications. Of course, the catastrophe in Japan, and the subsequent disruption of global supply chains relying on components coming from Japan, is an impetus for some discussion. What I see however is that in contrast to the Kobe earthquake (smaller in devastation, but disruptive nonetheless), newspaper after newspaper and magazine after magazine – popular press – are discussing disruptions of supply chain vis-a-vis Japan, and “end to end” supply chain, and a host of related terminology. I also see the writing also being much more sophisticated in terms of comprehension of supply chain management. Seeing a fairly light entertainment-focused site – “Huffington Post” – use JIT terminology around Japan supply chains with links to definitions (wikipedia) is startling.
At the 2010 SCC Supply Chain Executive Summit, an economist from CBRE property management came to speak on the economics of supply chain – commercial property managers are interested in supply chain management. Stock analysts are looking more closely at companies in terms of supply chain, ERP implementation, and sophistication of management. A web site on Apple – “The Unofficial Apple Weblog” – routinely has discussions on Apple’s Supply Chain. New York Times features Tim Cook, and his role in Apple’s Supply Chain. The Wall Street Journal frequently reviews supply chain issues. And on my iPad, a long, in-depth article about outsourcing, home-sourcing, inventory, quality and risk – but in of all places, Wired magazine: “Made in America: Small Businesses Buck the Offshoring Trend”.
I’m fascinated, and as I see more and more discussion, I feel that the post-crash decade may bring a lot of discussion of supply chain in terms that become more familiar to a large audience, making what is – perhaps to my Aunt – still a somewhat incomprehensible profession one that is more widely understood and appreciated.