SCL Hosts Fall*2007 Supply Chain Executive Forum

Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
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Summary Sentence:

Focus: Collaboration as a Key to Supply Chain Success

Full Summary:

The Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering's Supply Chain and Logistics Institute (SCL) hosted the fall 2007 Supply Chain Executive Forum (SCEF) in October. Participants discussed and exchanged ideas on collaboration*how it is defined within various organizations, the evolution of collaboration, and how it impacts the overall supply chain.

  • The focus for the fall gathering was on collaborat The focus for the fall gathering was on collaborat
  • Reporting back from the Executive Breakout Session Reporting back from the Executive Breakout Session
  • The forum concluded with a panel discussion on key The forum concluded with a panel discussion on key

The Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering's Supply Chain and Logistics Institute (SCL) hosted the fall 2007 Supply Chain Executive Forum (SCEF) in October at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center. The focus for the fall gathering was on collaboration as a key to supply chain success. Participants discussed and exchanged ideas on collaboration*how it is defined within various organizations, the evolution of collaboration, and how it impacts the overall supply chain.

Dr. John Langley, Director of Supply Chain Executive Programs and SCL Professor of Supply Chain Management, welcomed the group to Tech's campus and posed some critical questions for the group to address as an aid to digging deeper into the topic of collaboration.
* Why should companies collaborate? Why not?
* When should collaboration be done? When not?
* What are the types of supply chain collaboration, and who should collaborate?
* What are the best collaborative topics, and why?
* What types of collaboration are most relevant to the supply chain?
* How should collaboration be done? Not done?
* Does successful collaboration require major changes to corporate culture?
* Why aren't we doing more about collaboration?
* Is effective collaboration as valuable as advertised? If so, why don't more organizations do a better job with collaboration?
* When considering a collaborative relationship, how can we focus more attention on process and technology?

Keynote speaker, Nicholas J. LaHowchic, President, DIANNIC LTD, Port St. Lucie, Florida; and former Executive Vice President, Limited Brands; President & CEO, Limited Logistics Services, Inc; and an outstanding supply chain executive, reflected on supply chain management and the areas in greatest need of additional success. Nick shared his thoughts on collaboration from a leadership perspective, defining three essential elements of a business relationship with collaboration being the highest order of teaming. According to Nick LaHowchic, "collaboration's ultimate goal is in creating legendary relationships where there is a commitment to operational excellence, shared information, responsibility, operational consultation, and integrated operations.* He also discussed examples of how to collaborate with supplier trading partners and distributor trading partners, how to create collaborative service agreements with each trading partner, as well as the importance of creating metrics and measurements as keystones to success. Additionally, he identified seven cross-enterprise integration challenges. Last, and importantly, he reported that he and Dr. Don Bowersox were just completing a new book, Start Pulling Your Chain:Leading Responsive Supply Chain Transformation, that would be available early in 2008.

Dr. John Langley presented the results from the recently completed 2007 12th Annual Third Party Logistics Study focusing on the sections of the study that deal with the topic of 3PL-customer collaboration. He highlighted nine elements of successful collaboration, which included the importance of:
1. Well-understood goals and objectives
2. Trust and commitment
3. Corporate compatibility
4. Communication
5. Shared decision-making and ability to reach consensus on matters of importance
6. Equitable sharing of gains, losses, and investments
7. Synergy * overall benefits to involved parties greater than could be obtained alone
8. Effective measurements and dedication to process improvement
9. Creating a strategic plan for collaborative relationship

He also explored how 3PL-customer contracts should facilitate collaborative relationships. Some of the key ways discussed were to keep the contracting process simple, develop the contracts jointly by 3PLs and customers, view the contracting process as "facilitating* rather than "constraining,* have all parties involved in the process participate in a fair give and take manner, and consider fair "gain-sharing* and "cost-sharing* arrangements between the entities.

Additionally, Dr. Langley presented a "collaboration maturity model* that had been developed as part of the 2007 12th Annual Third Party Logistics Study. The model recognized three stages in the maturing of collaboration: Traditional, Progressive, and Leading, and also highlighted the importance of people, process, and technology to help achieve the objectives of collaboration.

Dr. Langley also moderated a lively executive panel discussion on collaboration that included Dan Gilmore, president/editor of Supply Chain Digest, and Gene Tyndall, founder and CEO of Supply Chain Executive Advisors. This discussion focused on a number of key issues such as how to successfully collaborate with supply chain partners, advantages and challenges of collaboration; and developing a strategic plan for collaboration.

Dan Gilmore then moderated a second panel with Danny Garst, VP of Logistics and SCM/IT for Philips and Norm Brouilette, VP at Ryder System, Inc., who provided insight into the logistics/supply chain relationship between these two organizations, as well as visibility into the results and challenges of successfully managing this successful collaboration. The Philips-Ryder collaboration serves as an excellent example of how a fast-changing supply chain manufacturer and distributor can work effectively with a major provider of logistics services.

The Executive Breakout Session allowed SCEF members and guests to help identify how the power of collaboration may be used to achieve ever-increasing supply chain objectives. Essentially, breakout session participants were asked to develop a preliminary "Maturity Model for Effective Supply Chain Relationships,* one that would mirror the structure of the collaboration maturity model, but broadened to encompass supply chain relationships.

The Forum concluded with a panel discussion where Dr. Langley moderated a thought-provoking dialogue among Mark Holifield of The Home Depot, Tim Pearson of LXP, and Tom Sanderson of Transplace on key issues relating to collaborative logistics. This session provided enlightening commentary on topics such as supply chain priorities, meaning of collaboration, improving logistics and supply chain effectiveness through collaboration, looking at collaboration through the lens of a "relationship continuum,* and using collaboration as a mechanism for behavioral change.

The next meeting of the Supply Chain Executive Forum is scheduled for April 23-24, 2008. For more information on how to become a member and participate in the Supply Chain Executive Forum, please call the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute at 404-894-2343, or visit

Current Supply Chain Executive Forum Member Organizations include:
Caterpillar Logistics Services
Chain Connectors
Chatsworth Products, Inc.
General Motors
The Home Depot
Intel Corporation
JDA Software Group
Kuka Robotics Corporation
LXP * Leveraged Execution Providers
Manhattan Associates
Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
Milliken & Company
Philips Consumer Electronics
Schenker Logistics
Schneider National
Spencer Stuart
Sterling Commerce
Supply Chain Digest
Supply Chain Executive Advisors
Transplace, Inc.
UTi Worldwide, Inc.
Williams-Sonoma, Inc
YRC Logistics

Additional Information


School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISYE)

Institute and Campus, Special Events and Guest Speakers
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isye, professional education, scl, supply chain executive fourm
  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: May 20, 2008 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:03pm