Supply Chains & Logistics

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Reducing the Risk of Supply Chain Disruptions

Most managers know that they should protect their supply chains from serious and costly disruptions — but comparatively few take action. The dilemma is that solutions to reduce risk mean little unless they are evaluated against their impact on cost efficiency. To protect their supply chains from major disruptions, companies can build resilience by segmenting or regionalizing supply chains, and limit losses in performance by avoiding too much centralization of resources.

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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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Driving Growth and Employment Through Logistics

Logistics clusters are local networks of businesses that provide a wide array of services, including transportation carriers, warehousing companies, and freight forwarders. Logistics clusters address several challenges that economies face, including the need for good jobs. In addition to helping companies navigate global supply networks, logistics clusters are contributing to the efficiency of global supply chains and, in the process, increasing international trade and global trade flows.

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Opportunism Knocks

Complex supply chains with many agents are more prone to problems, and on occasion, to spectacular collapse. Examples from the last few years include the subprime mortgage crisis; the failure of the Peanut Corporation of America; and dioxin-contaminated Irish pork. Without a doubt, today’s complex supply chains are vulnerable to opportunistic behavior leading to sometimes catastrophic failure. But there are five steps managers can take to protect their companies.

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The Trouble with Mass-Market Distribution

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Niche manufacturers often seek out mass-market distribution as a way to increase sales. But is that always wise?

Not according to professors Andrew R. Thomas, of the University of Akron, and Timothy J. Wilkinson, of Montana State University Billings.

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Image courtesy of Amazon.com
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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.

Image courtesy of Wal-mart.

Outcome-Driven Supply Chains

When properly designed and operated, the traditional supply chain has offered customers three primary benefits—reduced cost, faster delivery and improved quality. But managers are increasingly recognizing that these advantages, while necessary, are not always sufficient in the modern business world. The supply chain should be designed and managed to deliver one or more of six basic outcomes: cost, responsiveness, security, sustainability, resilience and innovation.

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Supply Chain Special Report: Advance Preview

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We're putting the finishing touches on the winter issue of MIT Sloan Management Review, which we'll publish in early January. Today we're posting an element from our special report on supply chains, about Outcome-Driven Supply Chains. In it, Steven A. Melnyk, Edward W. Davis, Robert E.

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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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Supply Chain Reality Check

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.

Showing 1-20 of 41