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Supply Chain Development
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The presentation describes what critical initiatives, strategic concepts, and focused leadership attributes must be initiated, supported, and monitored in a supply chain system to create and sustain competitive global advantage and improved profitability.


This article provides a tool bag that focuses on what companies must evaluate in their supply chain system against their strategic im­peratives.

The topic will

     show how strategic initiatives and structures can improve business
results by optimizing the system of the supply chain

     divulge strategic account management techniques that will reap benefits in expanding markets that go beyond the initial concepts of supply chain systems

     offer a leadership blueprint that coordinates, integrates, and guides successful supply chain strategies, which results in a sustainable competitive advantage. Supply chain versus consumption chain theories will be addressed.

     present the individual with the understanding that supply chain system integration and strategic planning capability are symbiotic to an immediate bottom-line impact for corporate success.

The concept of supply chain systems has been around for almost 10 years. This concept continues to be misunderstood, poorly explained, narrowly discussed, and marginally implemented. The question quickly arises, so what are the missing success factors?

Highly published answers to this question are

1.        It's too complex.

2.        Resistance to conceptual change.

3.        Top-management lack of buy-in.

4.   Lack of measurement.

5.        Suspect and untimely information.

6.        Failure of the integrated areas to go beyond their current paradigm. Do these responses sound familiar?

The answers are pathetically generic and self-limiting. As a matter of fact, you could substitute any proper noun in the above paragraph and the answers could be the same for any system implementation fail­ure (e.g., MRP, JIT, TQM, etc.).


A systematic answer (or key success factor) is strategic approach and integration of the core competencies of the organization into the supply chain system.


The success of the supply chain system is consequently related to the strategic "value" of the organization. Strategic imperatives, orga­nizational development, and value migration are leveraged against a dynamic supply chain model in the context of the paper.


I probably should use the published APICS definition but feel com­fortable with a modified version that is simple in my mind, but not simplistic. A supply chain is a real-time interactive process that cre­ates, makes, moves, and sells a product to a customer. The ultimate challenge or utopic vision of a supply chain is to manage these distinct separate processes as one seamless process with no boundaries and with constant information circulating as a loop around the whole.

Companies I've interviewed that believe they have a supply chain have stated that they have charted up to 30-plus different processes within the chain. All the processes are "feeders" in a huge handoff to one another, creating, at times, traffic congestion.

Another element of a supply chain is that decisions and informa­tion must be made in real time. This time dimension ensures that there are no delays between the handoffs. Once information is delayed, it often becomes invalid in its queue time.

A lot of people believe a supply chain is defined as all activities associated with moving goods from the raw material stage to the end user.

I personally think the chain is strategically more diverse than transitioning goods. I like to think of a supply chain as more of a stra­tegic puzzle that is holistic to the total business cycle. My puzzle inte­grates the "feed" of the system along with the "feel" of the system.


Supply chain strategists must consider the conception of the busi­ness as the start of the chain, whether the organization was the origina­tor or not. This focus preempts the initial base strategy and the reason for beginning. This concept segment is not to be confused with the design segment that regulates the evolution and product life cycle.


The product segment is dynamic and iterative in its strategic value to the customer. The distribution segment is the heart of the marketing strategy and customer service level.


The fulfillment segment is the renewal strategy that allows the or­ganization to grow by increased customer demand and satisfaction. Often forgotten in a supply chain is the end of life segment that allows after market support to the final business cycle.

To Be Continued

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

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 11

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