- Research Feature
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Successful outsourcing of back-office business functions requires knowing not only your company’s needs but also the 12 core capabilities that are key criteria for screening suppliers.
There is a consensus among futurists that business is the only institution capable of providing effective global stewardship. As a result, a good deal of attention is being paid to mapping the future performance of businesses and the economies in which they operate.
Early in our careers, when we worked for the General Electric Co. in Schenectady, New York, there was no road map for a young manager desperately trying to find ways to lead. One had to experiment, employing various mechanisms such as motivational sessions, inventory control, budgetary control and information management.
During the e-boom of the 1990s, academics, consultants, executives and investors alike claimed that e-procurement, and its increasingly central role in supply-chain management, would revolutionize how future business-to-business practices would take place: Efficiencies would be improved and procurement costs reduced; the flow of information along the supply chain enhanced; strategic
Should birds of a feather flock together? Not if the goal is to promote innovation, says Rachelle C. Sampson, assistant professor of logistics, business and public policy at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
By understanding the variety and interconnectedness of supply-chain risks, managers can tailor balanced, effective risk-reduction strategies. The authors show how smart companies use “stress testing” to identify parts of the supply chain that might break in the event of a natural disaster, terrorist strike or other upheaval. They then explain a variety of ways that supply-chain partners can collaboratively prepare for and effectively manage risk.
Even the best companies let their customers down sometimes, and many disappoint frequently. The authors lay much of the blame for this on companies’ obsession with uniqueness and differentiation. According to their analysis, companies are too quick to dismiss “category benefits” as a source of advantage. They explain why companies such as Toyota, Cemex, Orange, Medtronic and Sony are successful because they are simply better at offering what customers really want.
The increasingly common practice of migrating business processes overseas to locales such as India, the Philippines and China is often seen as a negative phenomenon that suppresses domestic job markets. On the contrary, says the author, offshoring is a critical component of next-generation business design, a dynamic process of continually identifying how to deliver superior value to customers and shareholders.
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.
Sometimes large-scale operational efficiencies can mask opportunities. In their research, the authors found that small-scale operations provide significant advantages in four areas. Using case studies, the authors illustrate how companies in a wide variety of industries have found the hidden benefits of small-scale approaches, concluding that executives who learn when it is better to think small can have a potentially huge impact on their companies‘ long-term success.
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