Serving the Industry

I am convinced that we know supply chain management matters, but that we do not have hardcore data to support it.  I also believe that the supply chain is a complex system with complex processes with increasing complexity.  The system has finite trade-offs that companies know empirically, but don’t understand mathematically.  The supply chain index is designed to help companies better understand the effective frontier.  To better understand supply chain excellence, we are doing three things:1) Financial Data.  When I started Supply Chain Insights, I hired a researcher to collect and harmonize balance sheet data for the key industries for the last twenty years. This is easier said than done.  Abby Mayer is leading this effort and will be writing on the blog Supply Chain Index.  She has collected twenty years of balance sheet data from ten industries and continues to collect the rest.2) Analysis.  Our next step is to take this data and run analysis and develop core analytics.  Based on the three qualitative surveys that we have completed, we have information on the maturity of companies on four supply chain models.  We will be using this data on maturity to look at the metrics and to understand how different companies have unconsciously defined their own “effective frontier.”  We will report on how this is changing by industry. Using R, our summer intern, Alex Miles, will be doing this analysis.  Alex and Abby are both hard at work and I am excited to see the output.  I cannot wait to see a mathematical equation that represents the supply chain effective frontier.  We define this as the supply chain index.3) Your Voice. As we do the research, let us know your thoughts.  And, if there is an analysis that you would like to see, let us know!  We want to understand the numbers better. Your insights can help us.

I fundamentally believe that supply chain excellence CANNOT be defined by putting all industries into a spreadsheet and shaking them up.  I also do not believe that it can be defined by one year snapshots.  Instead, I think that it is driving year-over-year progress on the effective frontier.  We will be running statistical analysis by industry group and by maturity to understand how different industries have made trade-offs.  Look for this analysis throughout the summer.

Also, if you get the time, check out our new Supply Chain Wiki.  It is our first step in delivering on our vision for the supply chain community.

Lora Cecere

Founder of Supply Chain Insights

Author Lora cecere

Lora Cecere is the Founder of Supply Chain Insights. The research firm Supply Chain Insights is paving new directions in building thought-leading supply chain research. She is also the author of enterprise software blog “Supply Chain Shaman. The blog focuses on the use of enterprise applications to drive supply chain excellence. Her book, Bricks Matter, will be published in August 2012. As an enterprise strategist, Lora focuses on the changing face of enterprise technologies. Her research is designed for the early adopter seeking first mover advantage. Current research topics include the digital consumer, supply chain sensing, demand shaping and revenue management, market-driven value networks, accelerating innovation through open design networks, the evolution of predictive analytics, emerging business intelligence solutions, and technologies to improve safe and secure product delivery. She comes to the stage with over forty years of diverse supply chain experience. She has spent nine years as an industry analyst with Gartner Group, AMR Research, Altimeter Group and is now the founder of her own firm Supply Chain Insights. Prior to becoming a supply chain analyst she spent fifteen years as a leader in the building of supply chain software at Manugistics and Descartes Systems Group, and twenty years as a supply chain practitioner at Procter & Gamble, Kraft/General Foods, Clorox, and Dreyers Grand Ice Cream (now a division of Nestle).

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