Next-Gen Supply Chain Management
Major transformational change in supply chain and logistics is not a frequent occurrence, but it has happened with regularity throughout history: The advent of the steam engine and the related rise of railway and steamship lines. The invention of diesel and turbine engines resulting in the supplanting of steam-powered vehicles with oil-fueled locomotives, trucks and airliners. The construction of limited-access super highways and the rise of trucking services. And now, the new-age supply chain will take the next leap forward through integrated technology-enabled solutions. Unlike the earlier examples listed above, ‘Next-Gen’ productivity improvement and optimized supply chain performance will come from technology-enabled solutions, rather than mechanical or engineering inventions.
In the recent film The Theory of Everything, Steven Hawking sets a goal of finding a “single, elegant equation that explains everything” in relation to the universe. Supply chain faces a somewhat less complex and less daunting task, but still needs a fully integrated, systemic approach to managing the business. So, while marvelous in concept and exciting in theory, true end-to-end (e-2-e) supply chain management has lagged behind the technological ability to deliver it. In other words, it lacks a single, unifying solution: there is no silver-bullet, no single, holistic solution supply chain professionals can turn to.
Unlike Dr. Hawking, we don’t need a single, elegant solution. But, if we are to truly transform supply chain management, we do need the ability to envision, design, and blueprint a solution for operationalizing e-2-e transportation management, if not for the entire supply chain. Transportation now accounts for about 63% of total supply chain cost, so it is vital to get right.