@ Supply Chain Management


Leverage Supply Chain as Competitive Advantage – the how to?

The article deals with a new book put out by two partners at PRTM – Shoshanah Cohen and Joseph Roussel called Supply Chain Management: The 5 Disciplines for Top Performance.

Too many senior officers don’t view their supply chain as a strategic business asset,” commented Cohen, co-author and partner at PRTM. “But when aligned with the overall business strategy, supply chain management provides major opportunities to impact both the top- and bottom-lines.”

The above is probably because there is a disconnect between business strategy (which thanks to Porter’s work) and supply chain strategy which has always been seen as an operational thingy that happens regardless. The companies that have successfully competed using their supply chains (eg: Dell, Walmart) as a competitive advantage view things slightly differently.
According to the authors,

The five core disciplines for top supply chain performance are:
1. View your supply chain as a strategic asset
2. Develop an end-to-end process architecture
3. Design your organization for performance
4. Build the right collaborative model
5. Use metrics to drive business success

Again, here the operational thingy of a supply chain seems to figure prominently and perhaps for the right reason – because a top performing supply chain is primarily about execution and getting things done. However, what about the very structure of the supply chain, which components should be finely tuned and focussed on relentlessly etc etc? You can only get things done within the framework that is imposed on from above by a company culture, philosopy or business strategy. As more and more companies turn onto the quest of using their supply chains as a strategic asset, I’d hope to see the supply chain strategy rise up to the level of being a business strategy.
And that should be a whole lot of fun!

Category: Strategy, Supply Chain Management


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June 2006