Dan Gilmore reports on his mini survey about the slippery concept of supply chain strategy and it implementation. I think it’s a really good question. And what he found is provocative.
It seems only a few firms have really embraced a far reaching strategic management approach to the integration of supply chains with corporate strategy. And his data show that they are still focused on internal improvements, whereas most studies show the biggest leverage is connecting with customers downstream rather than with suppliers or with internal processes. So I’m guessing there is a really long way to go.
While we have lots of tools for supply chain improvement, 3PLs have proved better at providing the information flows critical for integrating with customers or suppliers more directly. I think that trend will continue, even in spite of the spate of mergers and acquisitions in the 3PL space. It’s as if firms are seeing they don’t have the tools, let alone the glimmer of a strategy.
And this is true even of giants like UPS, which is rumored to be buying Coyote Logistics in a 1.8 billion deal. It means we need software and we need user interfaces that can jump the corporate boundaries to connect the supply chain.