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 / Fall 2003 / Issue 32(originally published by Booz & Company)


When Will Supply Chain Management Grow Up?

Customer Expectations
Though many companies can reap rewards simply from following the original underlying principles of supply chain management, even current SCM leaders face new challenges. The dot-coms heightened customer expectations about rapid delivery, and the Internet continues to fundamentally change customer behavior. Traditional manufacturers such as IBM and Lucent have aggressively pursued outsourcing in response to nimble competitors such as Dell and Cisco Systems Inc. Competition from emerging economies such as China and Vietnam puts pressure on global supply chains. Constraints continue to be broken by supply chain innovators, but new constraints always emerge, presenting opportunities for the next generation of innovators.

Thanks to the collective efforts of executives, practitioners, academics, software vendors, and consultants, we anticipate a long — though sometimes chaotic — life for supply chain management.

Reprint No. 03304


Tim Laseter ([email protected]) is the author of Balanced Sourcing: Cooperation and Competition in Supplier Relationships (strategy+business/Jossey-Bass, 1998) and serves on the operations faculty at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. Formerly a vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton, he has 20 years of experience in supply chain management and operations strategy across a variety of industries and multiple continents.
Keith Oliver ([email protected]) is a senior vice president in Booz Allen Hamilton’s London office. During his more than 35 years in consulting, he has helped senior executives address strategic issues involving the management of the extended enterprise from suppliers to end consumers.
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