I interviewed Stuart Emmet, the author of The Supply Chain in 90 Minutes book. Stuart's background for the last 20 years has been in training delivery and very much in supply chain, procurement and logistics. Before this he worked in the 3rd party sector. Stuart has always worked in the service sector in the UK and for 7 years in West Africa in Nigeria doing operations jobs.
The Origin For The Creation of The Supply Chain in 90 Minutes Book
In early 2000 Stuart became conscious that there were a lot of good books around in supply chain. However, there wasn't something that provided a quick overview for people who were moving into supply chain. It helped people who were coming from other functions step of their functional silo view of things. Supply chain is about trying to get out of the silos and integrating left and right from the silo you are in. While working in Nigeria for 2 weeks Stuart was in the hotel and has this idea again. He mapped out the topics it should cover and then he began writing.
Right from the day the book was published it had a good place in the market because it had received some very good reviews. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said that on a five point scale the book received a five on content as well as technical quality and that it was about supply management and general management.
8 Supply Chain Rules
1. “Win the Home Games First”. This is what Stuart considers to be the most important. Which is really a sports analogy for team games. We need to get our internal structure working well and better first. We need to win the home games before going out and playing the away games. Before we start going outside the organization towards suppliers and customers, we need to make sure we have a good internal structure working. Internally we need to integrate, coordinate and get that working before we go outside.
2. Format of Inventory. The format of inventory and where it is held is of common interest to all supply chain players and must be jointly investigated and examined. We can stop people from working independently from each other and start looking across at the inventory side as showing we are all interdependent. If I start ordering but not sure how you are actually working, I may order something but will not be sure if we already have stock. There are many things which can happen with inventory with the Bullwhip effect, etc.
3. The optimum cost/service balance is only ever going to be found by sitting down and working with all the other players in the supply chain. This is a part of the supply chain which Stuart likes most. It involves looking at the relationships and looking what is going on with the inventory, lead time examination, and getting the collaboration and the relationship side coming through.
4. Going for fixed and reliable lead-times, rather than the length of the lead-time. If things are not reliable and if we get variability we don't satisfy and run out of stock, etc. Someone has classically said that “uncertainty is the mother of inventory”. Anything we can do to examine lead-times and trying to get it reliable has got to work.
5. The customer is the business. It is their demand which drives the whole supply chain. We need to get good demand profiling and try to work as best we can with customers. Having good views of demand when needed actually help us.
6.It is only movement to the customer that adds the ultimate value and smooth continuous flows are preferable. Of course, it is only the movement towards the customer that gives us the ultimate value. Clearly, things being delayed, reverse charges, etc add cost. It is only when the product is being received by the end user or customers that we have the ultimate value.
7. We should be looking at everything as a whole. It is an holistic type of thinking involving systems thinking and how well the systems work together in terms of not just the people but the systems and processes we have.
8. Information flows lubricate the supply chain. We need to be making sure we use the appropriate information communication technologies, whether track and trace systems, having good email systems, extensive systems approaches where have computers talking to each other up and down the chain.
About Stuart Emmet
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