IBM Thinks Smarter Supply Chain

By Freddie Pierce
A century of experience in the business has a way of getting into a companys DNA, allowing them to plan broadly and get out ahead of industry trends. I...

A century of experience in the business has a way of getting into a company’s DNA, allowing them to plan broadly and get out ahead of industry trends. IBM’s illustrious history is anything but just that – it’s a continuously improving entity that has remained modern as the world has changed.

“We’re different from our competitors in the industry in that we’ve had to evolve and transform ourselves so many times during our history,” says Mike Ray, Vice President of Supply Chain Business Integration & Strategy. “Like many that have been around that long, we’ve had to change the way we look at ourselves.”

Given the fact that history seems to have been accelerating lately – with the introduction of a truly integrated digital age – it’s only natural that for IBM, “the last twenty years have been the most transformative.”

As their competitors scramble to bring their supply chains into the 21st century – and suffer the losses when they don’t – IBM has already been there for a while. As a long-time fully-integrated global concern, they’re not just leading the way; they’re making it.

It’s not as simple as it may seem. But given their dedication to maintaining their standard-setting fulfillment record, they’ve had to learn on the fly – and teach it too.

“Some people think of integration as a geographic thing,” notes Ray. “While that is a critical piece of it – and we are fully integrated geographically – it’s as much an integration of processes as it is of geography.”

That means having diversification strategies that can help avoid the fallout from natural disasters, while maintaining a lean and nimble execution strategy.

History may be on their side, but the real reason IBM has never dropped the ball is because they’ve been running with it.


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