Category Archives: Supply Chain

Recipe for a Merger

I recently finished reading Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, a quick walk through the history of the last 13,000 years of human society, and I was intrigued by the parallels between his section on the development of written language, and how Supply Chain seems to be progressing with frameworks. The section of his book that deals with language stresses the importance of having written language to administer large human organizations –empires, kingdoms, nations, etc.

Continue reading

The Credibility Gap

in the course of work, I frequently meet and talk to supply chain executives, and there’s one simple question I ask frequently to see what people are thinking about: “What prevents you from being successful in your role?” Many times we get the answer, “I’m implementing X”, where X may be S&OP, ERP, some special practice, outsourcing logistics, you name it. Then I clarify: “Isn’t X really just your job? What prevents you from being successful at implementing X?” That’s a showstopper, or at least a pause-inducer. Continue reading

The Supply Chain Management Process

The late Michael Hammer of “Re-engineering the Corporation” fame put it succinctly once in a forum I attended in Philadelphia: “An imperfect process is better than no process, and a good process is best of all.” I’ve looked at many Supply Chain maturity models for companies, and some look at vendor dimension – degree of collaboration – while another may look at resource – degree of rationalization. All are based however on having a supply chain management system which evolves to progressively improve overall supply chain performance. Continue reading

Healthcare SCM

In my role with SCC, I recently had a great discussion with some healthcare research and provider groups in the US, relative to the development of Supply Chain Strategy – segmentation, setting strategy, benchmarking and so forth (see an excellent online CBT on Strategy and benchmarking at http://supply-chain.org/resources/scormark/tutorial). The conversation followed the normal course for discussion – the high cost of healthcare in the US, what is appropriate segmentation, where are benchmarks for healthcare in the various areas? Continue reading

Rethinking Resources

There is a gap in thinking about resources at a company level that highlights the mental block about managing supply chain for most managers. If I were to speak to managers about Human Resources, and ask them what they thought of the following situation I would get a strong response: Suppose a company’s payroll is managed independently in each functional unit: Some employees might get paid weekly, some biweekly, some monthly or perhaps twice a month. Continue reading

Falsehood

When I build supply chain analysis teams, and review the types of people I like to hire on or bring into process work, the background which interests me the most is a ‘scientific’ background. These people have been trained to look at problems and identify ways to explain them using a wonderful method which is so difficult to refute: the scientific method. Continue reading

Metrics Always Win

Over the past two weeks I have had the pleasure of meeting with senior executives from a variety of companies in training situations where we could talk freely and discover opportunities within their businesses for improving their supply chains. SCC trainings—particularly in-house private trainings – take a practical, hands-on focus to supply chain improvement. Managers frequently leave the trainings with specific ideas and improvement programs laid out and ready to go. Continue reading