Supply Chain Management is alive and well!!!

January 28, 2019

I recently read the June 2018 HBR article “The Death of Supply Chain Management”

Shocking….to say the least.

I liken this article to the mid 1980’s and the push for “Lights Out” manufacturing. Are they shouting from the same roof top? Have not educators and professionals alike learned that lights out manufacturing has an extremely limited application. And here they are sounding the same horn. I can hear it now, “The Light’s Out Supply Chain” or “The Autonomous Supply Chain”.

If the authors’ objective was to get our attention, they did. However, they missed significant historical lessons. Nothing can replace human tactile/touch of making the pieces fit together. Just ask Elon how his autonomous factory is working. How many truly believe there will be 100% autonomous networks of vehicles roaming our roadways. Not many…we like driving and conditions change too often.

They’ve missed a critical point: SCM has been a 2nd class citizen within organizations for years and never let loose to show its true potential. And NOW with big data, AI, and better analytics we have moved to the front of the bus.

It’s time for SCM leaders to invest in themselves, organizations to invest in SCM as professionals. SCM is a profession just like CPAs and engineers. As we move to the front of the bus, we as leaders in SCM must demand more professionalism within our profession.

The authors are correct, in there are significant benefits to AI and linking; sales, demand planning, inventory optimization and replenishment planning. However, there must always be a strategy, vision and professionalism to “right the ship”.

SCM welcome to 1st Class!!! Let’s act like we belong and let’s not blow the opportunity to show the world what integrated SCM can achieve. It’s a great time to be part of this transformation.