Supply chain must be at the heart of business strategy

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Supply chain needs to move the heart of business strategy, Professor Alan Braithwaite told delegates on the opening day of the Extended Supply Chain conference in London.

In his keynote address, Braithwaite considered the challenges ahead over the coming decade: volatility, complexity and global shifts.

And he analysed the development of supply chain over the past decade highlighting such things as shifts from adversarial relationships to collaboration, information hoarding to information sharing, focus on function to focus on process.

However, he said, many businesses were still quite siloed and supply chain was still seen a function. “We need to see supply chain at the heart of business strategy.”

Meeting future market demands would require a “Balanced Business Model”. There key to this was “doing the right thing – and doing it right”, he said. This could result in a net margin improvement of two to five per cent.

Braithwaite set out four key capabilities necessary to deal with the challenges ahead:

* Manage complexity for profit – businesses can die under the weight of complexity, he warned.

* Aligning to customers and suppliers for mutual value

* Designing for resilience and responsiveness

* Excelling at all the old basics.

*A full report from the Extended Supply Chain conference will appear in the June issue of Supply Chain Standard.


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