- Research Feature
- Read Time: 14 min
Organizations need to focus on how blockchain can be used to support their unique strategies. Without this focus, they risk investing in initiatives that don’t provide meaningful value.
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The danger in using artificial intelligence to expedite inefficient legacy processes is that the technology may prolong the life of systems that limit competitive advantage.
For more than a century, economies of scale made the corporation an ideal engine of business. But now, a flurry of important new technologies, accelerated by artificial intelligence (AI), is turning economies of scale inside out. Business in the century ahead will be driven by economies of unscale, in which the traditional competitive advantages of size are turned on their head.
For years, management thinkers assumed that there were inevitable trade-offs between efficiency and flexibility – and that the right organizational design for each was different. But it’s possible to design an organization’s work in ways that simultaneously offer agility and efficiency – if you know how.
Research carried out at the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) shows that supplementing mathematical models with analyses of external variables enables companies to develop the most efficient distribution networks.
“Lean” programs help many manufacturers boost productivity. But misplaced expectations of how quickly these programs can improve performance can make their implementation difficult. Better understanding of the rates at which lean programs produce improvements would make implementation go more smoothly — and lead to more increases in productivity. Managers should set targets that are appropriate to specific plants and be careful not to derail progress by using initial gains to lay off workers.
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.
When companies use some sort “sustainability filter,” it helps make the concept real and find opportunities for efficiency says Roberta Bowman, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer for Duke Energy.
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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