- Research Feature
- Read Time: 21 min
Knowledge sharing between partners has more upsides than downsides, provided that the right kind of knowledge goes back and forth.
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As companies rely increasingly on external suppliers, there is an emerging and compelling need for “maestros”
A comparison of two Mexican factories suggests that global companies should go beyond monitoring codes of conduct and attack the problem of poor working conditions at its source by collaborating with their suppliers to implement new management systems.
An organization’s ability to recover from disruption quickly can be improved by building redundancy and flexibility into its supply chain. While investing in redundancy represents a pure cost increase, investing in flexibility yields many additional benefits for day-to-day operations.
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.
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.
The idea that e-commerce would lead to disintermediation has turned out to be largely wrong. The Web transforms but does not eliminate the advantages of the middleman‘s central lookout position. The authors show how new kinds of intermediaries are helping smart companies realize the promise of the Web. They offer nine ways that intermediaries traditionally add value and explain that three will change, three will survive in a new form, and three present growth opportunities.
Organizations today must quickly and continually assess which parts of their value chain are vulnerable, which parts are defensible, which alliances make strategic sense, and which threats are deadly.
During the 1980s, Benetton was known as the archetypal network organization. But it decided to take a new direction representing a major discontinuity with its past and a divergence from industry practices. Without giving up the strongest aspects of its networked model, it integrated and centralized, exerting greater control over its supply chain even as it diversified its operations and product lines. The authors offer a detailed case study of this dramatic transformation.
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