Want to be part of the 15 percent? Here’s how those leading companies develop and maintain their supply chain strategy

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In his research as the executive director of the Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee, J. Paul Dittmann, Ph.D., has found that of the 15% of U.S. corporations with a supply chain strategy in place, its development is treated as a non-trivial exercise.

“Most companies will take an afternoon to talk about supply chain strategy as part of an off-site planning session for next year. And that’s not enough,” he notes. “The companies that do this well understand it requires a lot of information—perhaps over as many as three months—before they determine what the strategy is, and what the right projects are.”

According to Dittmann, a strategic supply chain planning process should encompass an understanding of the following:

1. What your customers want and need;
2. Where your company stands versus best-in-class;
3. What mega-trends are developing in your industry;
4. What technologies are changing in your field; and
5. What your competitors are doing.

Then, once the supply chain strategy is in place, a commitment has to be made to communicating and championing its importance organization-wide. Additionally, says Dittmann, schedule a formal, annual review of the plan to ensure that it is keeping pace with the dynamic and ongoing changes faced by businesses every day.

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