SCEF: Looking for the Future of Supply Chain Management

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Considering the significant changes that most organizations have had to make in response to new realities in the global economic environment, the fall 2009 meeting of the Georgia Tech Supply Chain Executive Forum (SCEF) focused on exploring the future of supply chain management. The recent meeting of this biannual forum provided member executives with new global insights as they continued their dialogue on ways to improve the design and functioning of their supply chain by looking to the future for innovative ways to stay competitive and create smarter supply chains. "We have come here to learn and to figure out together how we are going to stay competitive," said Dr. Chris Norek, founding partner of Chain Connectors. "Often times, what's being written about supply chains and what's being done are different, and dialogues like these are crucial if we are to have a future." Dr. C. John Langley, director of the Supply Chain Executive Forum and SCL professor of Supply Chain Management, opened the forum by welcoming the group to campus and encouraging them to consider these six questions as they discussed and listened to the various presentations: * What are supply chain executives doing to deal with the unprecedented challenges being faced throughout the world today? * What can and should be done to reinvent supply chains and to move overall to "smarter" supply chains? * What can we do to drive supply chain integration and visibility? * Considering the changes that have been seen to date and those that will become apparent in the future, how is this impacting what we expect of supply chain management? To what extent will this translate into a "New Supply Chain Normal?" * What areas should be foremost on the minds of supply chain executives as they try to deal with the wide range of changes that are occurring at present and in the future? * How can supply chain executives think outside their area s of expertise, and beyond their familiar planning parameters? Sanjeev Nagrath, Global Supply Chain Management Leader at IBM Global Business, delivered the opening keynote address which focused on the inaugural edition of The Smarter Supply Chain of the Future, a study conducted by IBM Global Chief Supply Chain Office that included conversations with 400 supply chain executives on their challenges and aspirations. The study suggests that it is no longer enough to build supply chains that are efficient, demand-driven or event transparent; they much also be smart. They must be instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent. To reinforce and assimilate the content of the keynote, the second day began with a panel discussion to reflect and react to the findings in The Smarter Supply Chain of the Future. Dr. Chris Norek, founding partner of Chain Connectors, moderated the discussion. Panel members included Brad Grimsley, Limited Logistics; Jim Bowes, Peach State Technologies; Dennis Flynn, Coca-Cola Supply; and Gene Ochi, UTi Worldwide, Inc. Dan Gilmore, editor of Supply Chain Digest, discussed the world of the future and the ten most important and likely supply chain changes by 2015 in a compelling presentation, with Gene Tyndall of Tompkins Associates providing selected commentary. Gilmore emphasized the importance of conducting a variety of scenario analyses within your organization. He encouraged the group to take the time to play out pot:ential issues. For example, what would you do if there is a terrorist attack at a port? How would that impact your global sourcing? Gilmore suggest that playing out these scenarios is an important way to laying a strategic grounding for the survival of your organization. Erik Peterson, an expert in global change and senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, identified and analyzed seven key policy challenges that policymakers, business figures, and other leaders will face out to the year 2025 in an exciting, fast-paced, multimedia presentation. Called the "Seven Revolutions," Peterson discussed each of these seven forces that embody both opportunity and risk in the years to come and the implications across society. In brief, they included: (1) Population: Expect dramatic changes in the population and changes in the nature of the human family. (2) Resource management and environmental stewardship: What is the carrying capacity of the Earth in terms of food, water, and energy? (3) Technology innovation and diffusion: Technology is moving at breathtaking rates. What new technologies are on the horizon? (4) Information and knowledge management: Who can stay current with this massive amount of change and information? (5) Economic integration: How can organizations achieve integration across global geographies and experience the benefits of working together for mutual benefit? (6) The nature and mode of conflict: Will this world be a better world or a more tumultuous world? (7) The challenge of governance: How to organize and deal with complexity and uncertainty? The forum concluded with an executive break-out session where participants took the "Seven Revolutions" to further investigate how they relate specifically to the supply chain. For more on the Supply Chain Executive Form and how you can become a member, visit:


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Created: 10/27/2009
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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