Sunday, September 8, 2013

Scheduling volunteers - American Red Cross

As our topic this week deals with inventory management, the article by McKinsey deals with building a supply chain during uncertain times. The topic I wanted to discuss is the supply chain management of American Red Cross.

Disasters, natural or man-made, are difficult to predict, let alone prepare for. It is good management to keep "inventory", in this case, volunteers and supplies, at a low, when there are no disasters. This being the case, when disaster strikes, the supply chain needs to be flexible in order to aid those that need it.

The American Red Cross won the European Supply Chain Excellence Award in 2006. The article I read, link below, talks about the volunteer scheduling and other aspects when it comes to disaster relief. The American Red Cross has been doing an outstanding job helping with relief aids when needed and to keep their inventory and financial donations well-sustained, especially when donations are slim.

So my question is why haven't other businesses studied good supply chain management methods and apply them to their own business (of course, modified to fit their needs). I assume, that one method that works well for a business will not work for another business. But what are the implications that we would need to study in order to optimize our supply chain management skills for the benefit of a specific company?


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