For Supply Chain Managers, Another Way Out

By Freddie Pierce
With natural disasters causing serious enough disruptions in the supply chain that theyre drawing corporate blood, supply chain managers are in a uniqu...

With natural disasters causing serious enough disruptions in the supply chain that they’re drawing corporate blood, supply chain managers are in a unique position to effect change.  That may be a surprise to a profession known for bean counting, but it’s the truth.  The current challenges to the global supply chain cannot be met without rethinking the strategy that got us here and bringing logistics into the new millennium as a self-managing, sustainable enterprise.

The problems stemming from all the pollution, human rights abuses, and ruthless cost-cutting that characterized so-called efficient supply chain strategy have so far been ignored, put off, or externalized.  Sooner or later though, the chickens come home to roost, and when they do you’d better have a rooster ready.

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The fact is, there’s an enormous cost to cruelly managed supply chains, and large companies with the advantage of forethought are already moving to reduce and manage that cost.  The old methods of quick gains at the expense of drastic downstream losses are fossilizing, and big business is entering into a more harmonious relationship with the environment they have such a hand in shaping.

Supply chain managers, once mandated to keep costs down and leave the executives alone, are entering the corridors of power and applying imaginative thinking to fundamental world problems. 

It’s an exciting time to be a bean counter.

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