Saturday, October 01, 2011

The A-Z of Supply Chain Management

I recently completed reading Guide to Supply Chain Management: How Getting it Right Boosts Corporate Performance. This is published by The Economist and written by an eminent supply chain strategic consultant. If you are a novice to supply chain and often confused by conflicting definitions on what SCM is - and is not - read this book. If you are a supply chain practitioner and want some clear markers on designing a comprehensive supply chain strategy, read this book. David Jacoby's experience of over 20 years clearly comes through in this well-researched piece.

The book very quickly jumps into the 4 key supply chain strategies - cost rationalization, demand-supply synchronization, customization and innovation - that organizations can pursue. And highlights early on the often forgotten point that while we can classify any function within an organizational silo, activities within them cannot be similarly silo-ed if we want to derive value. For instance, we often lump DC-Network design and an initiative such as cross-docking under the warehousing function. But how many of us look at the former activity through the lens of cost rationalization, and the latter as an enabler of synchronization? Insights, such as this, abound.

The book frames the final few chapters with details on the organization structure, information systems framework and KPIs that must supplement each of these strategies. And that is when we truly comprehend the completeness of supply chain management.

My only grouse is that the book went into too much of theory and detail toward the end. Maybe it was intentional, given the wide range of audience it aims to cater to. But if you can stifle some of those yawns and plough on, you will be enriched with a wealth of knowledge on how you must design, strategize, implement, measure and enhance your supply chain.

I'll rate this 4 stars.

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