In the March issue of Chief Executive magazine, Supply Chain Alchemy is the lead technology story. The gist? Bargaining clout and technology are not the only keys to supply chain bliss. Well, that’s how they put it. But it’s a nice general overview of what’s needed for supply chain improvements: an understanding of your own and your business partners’ needs and limitations, and judicious use of technology tools—not “solutions.”
The story offers the interesting observation that the relationship requirements of supply chain management make it “like being married to more than one person at the same time.” More interesting yet is the sentence that comes next: “Those who pull it off improve their businesses and enjoy unusually stable associations with strategic business partners.” Well, well.
Anyway, this is a cautionary tale for CEOs about the need to take a balanced and honest look at their own operations and requirements (which may include taking care of business partners even at some self-sacrifice) before single-mindedly chasing after savings from automation, outsourcing or technologies like RFID.
For an illustrative tale of woe from our archives, see Hershey’s Bittersweet Lesson. And for scads more stories on the topic of supply chain management, visit our SCM Resource Center.