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Taking supply management to the next level

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
September 08, 2011

With young people returning to school this month, we thought we’d say something about on-going education for established professionals. Here’s a book for you to consider in September.

Next Level Supply Management Excellence: Your Straight to the Bottom Line Roadmap, co-written by Robert A. Rudzki and Robert J. Trent, presents a picture of what procurement and supply chain management will look like during this second decade of the 21st century. Given the disruptive nature of the current global economy, many of the views here are prescient.

Rudzki – who contributes blog posts to Supply Chain Management Review – admits that most readers will find some of the ideas here to be difficult to embrace. But it is his earnest belief such change will bring higher-visibility, accountability, risk, and ultimately – reward. Trent, who has contributed guest features to SCMR in the past, shares the opinion that today’s managers must extend their risk threshold if they are to keep pace with the dynamic shift in our supply chain universe.

Besides the fact that both Rudzki and Trent are very fine writers, they also happen to be consultants and educators with very precise ideas on just what constitutes good management. For Trent, it has been in keeping a good supplier scorecard. For Rudzki, it’s knowing when to tap outside expertise for cultural change. He notes that one of the classic reasons for using consultants includes a desire to “jump-start” improvement or to introduce and imbed new best-in-class business processes.

Additional reasons, he writes, include leveraging the prior experiences of the consulting firm and a need to supplement internal resources with outside expertise. But he cautions that the worst classic reason to outsource this function comes about because the organization lacks leadership in a functional area.

Both authors maintain that better decisions regarding use of external resources are possible when a proposed project is “disaggregated” into components. In other words, defining precisely what the long-term objective is.

But it all begins with executive awareness. The Next Level, argues that strategic supply management involves knowledge areas requiring leaders with intelligence and foresight. Those hoping to simply automate the system will ultimately remain stagnant. And that, say Rudzki and Trent, requires the best human resources currently available.



About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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