The first chapter of our book appeared in this month’s version of the Supply Chain Management Review. This is an exciting development, as I believe the book begins to share some of the foundational ideas that will emerge in the extended supply chain.
The book follows the story of Flex, a company that has completely redesigned itself around the digital supply chain revolution. The Flex supply chain structure is part of a massive change and evolution that is occurring in today’s supply chain world. These changes will occur sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but will undoubtedly come into being in the next decade.
The changes we are writing about in the book “The LIVING Supply Chain” are not just about technology—they are about true evolution in a biological sense. In fact, many of the changes have been captured in a set of statements we have called the “Rules of LIVING Supply Chains.”
This was the thinking that led us to begin this book. We want to determine how digitization can be exploited to drive competitive value. We have come to the conclusion that the intelligent piece of the real-time supply chain needs to be combined with a number of other cultural values within the organization. From there, it extends upstream and downstream in the supply chain network.
A good acronym that captures these concepts is “LIVING,” and is the basis for this book.
Live. Do you have a real-time (LIVE) view of your information?
Intelligent. Are you able to connect the essential leverage points in your network through Cloud, mobile and other mediums that provides a platform for analytics? Can you track the DNA of your supply chain at a part number level globally? Can the system evolve to link to the objects in your supply chain?
Velocity. Is your entire enterprise and network focused on moving assets faster than ever before in its history?
Interactive. Is there a common governance structure that defines how observations are translated into issues, monitored, validated and translated into specific actions and responses?
Networked. Is your multi-enterprise supply chain networked in such a manner that a common and aligned view of business priorities and actions is aligned with trusting relationships common to everyone?
Good. Is your network truly good, with a common cultural understanding that transcends borders and seeks to establish good relationships as long-term assets that drive growth and transparency anywhere in the world?
These new rules are aligned with many of the rules that dictate how species, humans and genetics have evolved. They represent a natural evolution rather than a radical one. They are occurring because the world of global trade has reached the limits of its growth without re-shaping the way it operates. Welcome to the LIVING supply chain that operates in real time.