@ Supply Chain Management


Achieving World-Class Supply Chain Collaboration: Managing the Transformation

Achieving World-Class Supply Chain Collaboration: Managing the Transformation is a new report available from CAPS Research (free registration required) published by authors – Stanley Fawcett (BYU), Gregory Magnan (Seattle U) and Jeffrey Ogden (Airforce Inst of Tech). First off, this report is a research oriented report and so it is a virtual gold mine of possibilities. But also of dead- ends and the difference between them are not readily apparent all the time.

In the preface of the report, the authors note that,

"but the world has also, literally, become a more dangerous and risky place in which to do business. Today’s global supply chains are only one terrorist attack, one bird flu pandemic or one not-yet-envisioned threat away from disruption and potential chaos."

These threats in the past would never have affected supply chains of the past. This is not to say that there has not been global trade going on which has been going on for centuries. However, there has been a shift in the sense that the decision to source globally is not only from a point of availability but also from the point of price and value added (i.e. a lot of firms believe that outsourcing/offshoring non-value added activities is a good business decision). One wonders here whether in that non value added determination, whether it was deemed necessary to couple that determination with supply risk. Regardless, we’re well down that path and now we get to face both the pleasures and perils of that commitment.

The irony of change however is well noted by the authors,

Companies have struggled for years to learn how to integrate processes within their own four walls – most still do not! Learning how to build a collaborative team of companies in a world motivated by short-term financial results is a far more daunting task.

So why then the focus on collaboration than making the global supply chain a better one? Well, I guess that’s what the authors wanted to do but I’d have thought that these global supply chains have not yet had the time to settle down before the effort to tack on collaboration enters the picture. Perhaps, the global distribution of participants and stakeholders in the supply chain makes it important but one wonders when collaboration made little headway in the laboratory of the domestic supply chain, one wonders the risks of taking on the challenge globally.

Go on, read the report and see what nuggets you find!!

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About me

I am Chris Jacob Abraham and I live, work and blog from Newburgh, New York. I work for IBM as a Senior consultant in the Fab PowerOps group that works around the issue of detailed Fab (semiconductor fab) level scheduling on a continual basis. My erstwhile company ILOG was recently acquired by IBM and I've joined the Industry Solutions Group there.

@ SCM Clustrmap

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October 2007