Friday, June 16, 2006

A diet for your supply chain...

Dan Gilmore, editor of Supply Chain Digest, is one of the people I really admire as a supply chain expert. His fresh ideas and wonderful articles are always inspiring.

In one of his new articles, he has written about a new book titled "The Wall Street Diet: Making Your Business Lean and Healthy". He has strongly recommended the book as a useful guide in SCM area (I trust the guy so I think you should read it).

As title of the book shows, the ideas are couched in terms of a diet and it makes sense. Why? Because like individuals trying to shed excess pounds, companies and their supply chains are plagued by two related challenges: building a total "health" program, not just focusing on one specific element, and "keeping the weight off" after the initial improvement.

Here are some of the most important elements of the "diet" according to Dan Gilmore:

- Create a "Lean" Enterprise - using Lean principles beyond manufacturing to drive out waste and improve efficiency

- Achieve "Advanced" Supply Chain Management (more in a moment).

- Adopt Six Sigma type quality principles across many business processes to achieve a "quality-focused" enterprise

- Improve metrics to track progress

- Expand use of "smart" outsourcing as a function of really looking hard at what functions and processes could be better performed by someone else.

- Take a new, more enlightened focus on customer satisfaction

(Source: SupplyChainer)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

My experience on the use of Best of Breed

This is a question I have been asked many times: "Which approach do you recommend for adoption of Supply chain IT solutions: Single vendor or Best of Breed?".

And my answer to this is: "Good question! the answer is it depends...". But, even though the answer to the above mentioned question would heavily depend on the size of the company, the type of the industry and so forth, I myself vote for Best of Breed approach.

This approach, where companies hand-pick the best software product for each piece of supply chain process, comes with its set of headaches such as: extended vendor evaluation period, complex software integration problems and version control problems.

On the other hand, it may be an investment that provides greater long-term flexibility and higher quality of the solution. The fact that final solution has better fit to the enterprise, makes it a more preferable solution to me. What do you think?