Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Supply Chain Future

I guess this is a fitting subject for the final blog post of the class. I've been reading through Supply Chain Digest , an IBM(study), and other writings to find out what are the next steps for the Supply Chain. The questions: Have we hit a plateau on efficiency? What technologies are on the rise? Is there really such thing as a global supply chain?

I don't think we've plateaued since we've seen in the class have seen the upcoming technologies in action. There's still a lot of waste in the supply chain. I can only imagine how much food is wasted, how many damaged TV's there are during shipment, on and on. With people increasingly consuming "virtual" products e.g. books, games, movies, does lean manufacturing still apply?

The technologies on the rise are numerous. The power of QR we saw in yesterday's presentation is one. I just read this post about Lowe's home improvement is getting 42,000 Iphones for its workers to communicate with retailers/customers/etc. I can see some benefits but is this enough to justify a 20% capital spending increase for 2011? Is it just technology for the sake of having it?

Globalization will be a big issue of the future as well as Risk. How complex can a supply chain get before its unwieldy? Breaks down? Can a huge supply chain linking dozens of countries be a sufficient shock absorber? How global is the "system"? Many countries don't have the companies with the reach of a MNC.

What do you guys think might be some trends going forward?

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