Supply Chain Management

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The Trouble with Supply Chains

The UN’s Global Compact report identifies auditing the supply chain as the biggest obstacle to putting sustainability principle into practice. Companies simply don’t have enough information about suppliers’ sustainability practices to determine which links on the supply chain will provide the best outcome. But as global data sources become more all-encompassing — and companies’ analytics capabilities grow more sophisticated — that is changing.

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Human Rights: The Next Frontier

It is becoming more and more commonplace for companies to take human rights into account when sourcing materials or manufacturing processes. Guest blogger Olivier Jaeggi of ECOFACT explains why this trend has significance for sustainability — and how corporate standards are increasingly taking the position that paying attention to human rights is a necessity for companies’ risk management strategy, rather than an act of good will.

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When One Size Does Not Fit All

Although executives understand the difference between efficiency and responsiveness, many are confused about when to apply each strategy. In recent years, companies have been caught in the bind in which Dell Inc. found itself in 2008, when it needed to transform its supply chain to serve new customers in new channels. The question was: how to do that? Dell decided to create multiple supply chains, configured so that the company could reduce complexity and benefit from economies of scale.

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The Four-Point Supply Chain Checklist: How Sustainability Creates Opportunity

Supply chain executives are uniquely positioned to be able to see the whole ecology of a firm’s business, because they’re so close to all the pieces. This is especially true when it comes to matters of sustainability. This interview with Edgar Blanco, Research Director at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, outlines the areas in which supply chain managers can immediately have a sustainability impact, including packaging, transportation, supplier engagement, and customer alignment.

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Your Next Supply Chain

How have strategies for supply chain design changed in recent years? What are the forces most profoundly shaping them now? What kinds of models have emerged for companies to consider, choose among or learn from?

In this pair of twinned interviews, MIT professor and entrepreneur David Simchi-Levi and MIT professor Charles Fine — two of the world’s leading thinkers on supply chain and value chain design — offer answers to those questions and others.

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Supply Risk in Fragile Contracts

Increasing length, complexity and interdependence in supply chain contracts is resulting in more critical and costly supply disruptions, yet despite that risk, commodity procurement is mainly handled via long-term, fixed-price contracts containing naive terms and clauses in the case of breach. The risk of these breaches is very real.

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How To Do Strategic Supply-Chain Planning

Few organizations understand the benefits of having tactical planners, who use computer models to optimize the supply chain, in close communication with the senior managers who formulate strategy. The author outlines a planning approach that ensures that critical supply-chain details inform a company’s business strategy and that supply-chain management aligns with the strategic direction.

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The Bullwhip Effect in Supply Chains

Distorted information from one end of a supply chain to the other can lead to tremendous inefficiencies: excessive inventory investment, poor customer service, lost revenues, misguided capacity plans, ineffective transportation, and missed production schedules. What happens when a supply chain is plagued with a bullwhip effect that distorts its demand information as it is transmitted up the chain? How do exaggerated order swings occur? What can companies do to mitigate them?

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The Nonmarket Strategy System

Why do some well-formulated competitive strategies run into roadblocks or end up being stalled by government inaction? Why do some strategies produce unintended consequences inconsistent with a company’s core values? Why are strategies sometimes criticized by the public and threatened by government action? The causes of these problems are frequently

Showing 1-15 of 15