Supply Chain – managing a system

By 3. März 2010 No Comments

If you look at Supply Management and Environmental Substainability you find, that both fields have the same basis. They see the company as a system that is interconnected and has relations to the outside. In Supply Chain this is the customer and the supplier, in Environmental Sustainability it is even more.

This is the job describtion of the Vice President Environmental Sustainability, of one of the largest companies in the world, HP: She/he is responsible for advancing the companies global leadership position in environmental sustainability. She/he is responsible for multiple initiatives that build upon the company’s long-term efforts in product design, recycling, energy efficiency and the supply chain, as well as digital transformation. His/her team develops environmental programs aimed at driving impactful and meaningful results for the company and its customers, manages partnerships with external environmental stakeholders and drives employee education and engagement.

That does not sound so much different than a job description of a Suppy Chain Manager. Just combine it and you see the deeper effect: A  supply chain is more than the sum of its parts. It is an integrated whole, rather than a set of individualized and independent processes. Ideally, each link improves the next. Very good article about a supply manager in Germany who took a clear look. Article from strategy-business.

Just take this quotation: „Every supply chain is composed of a set of circles; deficiencies in one area cause or reinforce weaknesses in other parts of the chain. This notion, that a supply chain will fail to demonstrate significant and sustainable system-wide improvements from staggered initiatives, offered a new way of looking at a supply chain — as an integrated whole, not as a set of individualized and independent processes.“

Make it visible and start the discussion with the people involved. You will find some so far unclear principles, which both are used. Often Lean Management and avoidance of waste needs another behavior than machine utilization. In Lean you stop the engine to avoid waste if you do not need it, in the other concept you go on procucing as your key indicator says so. Only an understanding of the whole process will bring clarity to the work floor, what has to be done and why. First clear the „why“ and than find a solution for the „how“.

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