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Supply Chain Assessment
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This presentation describes an assessment methodology, based on the Supply Chain Proficiency Model, that can be used to set realistic sup­ply chain objectives. The assessment centers on a business model that identifies the logical stages of supply chain proficiency as measured against a comprehensive set of business characteristics. For each char­acteristic, an enterprise evolves from one stage to the next. The magni­tude of change inherent in moving forward usually prohibits skipping stages. Although it is possible to be at different stages for each charac­teristic, it is usually desirable to maintain balance.

"As-is" and "to-be" versions of the Supply Chain Proficiency Model are developed to depict the current and desired states of the supply chain. A gap analysis identifies the needed supply chain improvements. Short- and long-term supply chain objectives are set by logically map­ping the improvements to the Supply Chain Proficiency Model. Thus, this model provides a baseline for planning supply chain management initiatives.

Why is a supply chain assessment needed? Can't an organization just "make it happen" and reap the benefits of supply chain manage­ment? The answers to these questions lie in the many supply chain initiatives that produced less than desirable returns. The primary rea­son for failure is not having a road map that describes a starting point, a desired result, and the path to get there.


The supply chain describes the intra-enterprise and inter-enterprise ac­tivities related to materiel movement from the raw material supplier to the final consumer. It is a network of information, process, and product flows from a supply base, to an actioning organization and, finally, to a customer base. Supply chain management is the proactive synchroni­zation of these flows from conceptualization of need to retirement— with the purpose of delivering enhanced value for customers, suppli­ers, and shareholders. It is the process by which an enterprise achieves its objectives to improve performance across the supply chain.

The Supply Chain Proficiency Model is shown in figure 1. It pro­vides the basis for a supply chain management program. This model identifies four stages of supply chain proficiency:

I.     traditional

II.    aware

III.  proliferating

IV.      proficient.

At each stage of proficiency, the model analyzes four separate char-    Stage I is the lowest acteristics of the enterprise:                                                          

      business environment

      customer and supplier relations

      supply chain communications

      information systems.

Each intersection between the stage and characteristic contains a state of proficiency. Sets of criteria define the states of proficiency. These criteria will be discussed in detail in later sections.

Business Environment

This characteristic describes the organization's culture and the way functional entities operate. Elements of the business environment in­clude alignment, business processes, and efficiency measures.

Customer and Supplier Relations

As the name implies, this characteristic describes the culture for deal­ing with people outside the four walls of the enterprise. This, perhaps more than any other characteristic, defines an organization's ability to transcend to higher stages of proficiency. Customer and supplier rela­tions' elements include interface, relationships, and requirements.

Supply Chain Communications

Critical components of this characteristic include the method, types, and quality of communications between supply chain participants. Collaboration, where necessary, is the goal. Elements of supply chain communications include media, frequency, and content.

Information Systems

Technology must be leveraged to enhance the ability of leaders to view and translate real-time information into meaningful decisions. At the highest stage of supply chain proficiency, questions still remain unan­swered. However, trends indicate that robust information systems that share information across enterprises must be part of the answer.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 10


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