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Competitive Supply Chains: Strategic Alignment

A talk I give is titled “Supply Chain Excellence = Strategic Alignment.” I start it saying that because I represent MIT, it needs equations and the title is the last one you’ll see. It aptly states that to have an excellent supply chain, which I define as a competitive supply chain, it must be strategically aligned to the corporate competitive strategy.

By ·

A talk I give is titled “Supply Chain Excellence = Strategic Alignment.”  I start it saying that because I represent MIT, it needs equations and the title is the last one you’ll see. It aptly states that to have an excellent supply chain, which I define as a competitive supply chain, it must be strategically aligned to the corporate competitive strategy. This column represents the second of a three-part series. The first column, “Competitive Supply Chains: Excellence” (SCMR July/August 2015), delved into this in detail. This article discusses a strategic alignment approach to design competitive supply chains, first introduced in MIT’s SC2020 Project: The Essence of Excellence, published in the April 2006 issue of SCMR.

Four major characteristics of a competitive supply chain are the basis of the approach: 
1. Supports, enhances, and is an integral part of a company’s competitive strategy.
2. Leverages a (not necessarily unique) supply chain operating model to sustain competitiveness.
3. Executes well against a balanced set of operational performance objectives/metrics.
4. Focuses on a few “tailored” business practices that reinforce each other to support the operating model and best achieve operational objectives.

I’ve helped a few companies use this approach to begin to strategically design their supply chains. While developed for design, it can also be used to assess whether a supply chain is already competitive, needs redesign, or whether a competitive one is necessary (such as when competitiveness really needs to be enhanced by marketing and sales operations, and not by the supply chain).   

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Download Article PDF

A talk I give is titled “Supply Chain Excellence = Strategic Alignment.”  I start it saying that because I represent MIT, it needs equations and the title is the last one you’ll see. It aptly states that to have an excellent supply chain, which I define as a competitive supply chain, it must be strategically aligned to the corporate competitive strategy. This column represents the second of a three-part series. The first column, “Competitive Supply Chains: Excellence” (SCMR July/August 2015), delved into this in detail. This article discusses a strategic alignment approach to design competitive supply chains, first introduced in MIT’s SC2020 Project: The Essence of Excellence, published in the April 2006 issue of SCMR.

Four major characteristics of a competitive supply chain are the basis of the approach: 
1. Supports, enhances, and is an integral part of a company’s competitive strategy.
2. Leverages a (not necessarily unique) supply chain operating model to sustain competitiveness.
3. Executes well against a balanced set of operational performance objectives/metrics.
4. Focuses on a few “tailored” business practices that reinforce each other to support the operating model and best achieve operational objectives.

I’ve helped a few companies use this approach to begin to strategically design their supply chains. While developed for design, it can also be used to assess whether a supply chain is already competitive, needs redesign, or whether a competitive one is necessary (such as when competitiveness really needs to be enhanced by marketing and sales operations, and not by the supply chain).   

SUBSCRIBERS: Click here to download PDF of the full article.

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