The Supply Chain Revolution: Innovative Sourcing and Logistics for a Fiercely Competitive World

The Supply Chain Revolution: Innovative Sourcing and Logistics for a Fiercely Competitive World

When CEOs think about the supply chain, it’s usually to cut costs. But the smartest leaders see supply chain and sourcing for what they can be: hidden tools for outperforming the competition. Steve Jobs, upon returning to Apple in 1997, focused on transforming the supply chain. He hired Tim Cook—and the company sped up the development of new products, getting them into consumers’ hands faster. The rest is history.

Across a range of industries, once-leading companies are in trouble: Walmart, IBM, Pfizer, HP, and The Gap to name a few. But others thrive. While competitors were shutting stores, Zara’s highly responsive supply chain made it the most valued company in the retail space and its founder, the richest man in Europe. The success of TJX, Amazon, Starbucks, and Airbus, is fueled by supply chain and sourcing. Showcasing real solutions, The Supply Chain Revolution will:

  • Improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue
  • Make alliances more successful
  • Simplify and debottleneck the supply chain
  • Boost retail success by managing store investment
  • Drive excellence

Technology is disrupting business models. Strategies must change. The Supply Chain Revolution flips conventional thinking and offers a powerful way for companies to compete in challenging times.

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How sourcing can bring excellence to the Supply Chain, December 11, 2017
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
Well illustrated concepts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

have reaped great benefit. Retailers everywhere are under constant pressure, June 19, 2017
By 
Ian Mann (Johannesburg, South Africa) – See all my reviews
This review is from: The Supply Chain Revolution: Innovative Sourcing and Logistics for a Fiercely Competitive World (Kindle Edition)

In the constant and often obsessive search for profit and growth, I think it would be fair to say that few CEO’s think of their supply chain and sourcing as an obvious area for their attention. They are far more inclined to look to a change in business model, strategy or geographic reach to meet their objectives.
The value of this book lies in Sarkar’s cogent argument that will turn your understanding of supply chain from something “having about the same sex appeal as broccoli” into an area of immediate concern.
The ‘Supply Chain Revolution’ covers both the opportunities in supply chain and sourcing in some depth, but I will focus only on a few aspects from each.
When the late Steve Jobs returned to a failing version of the company he founded, he set himself three goals. The first was, as to be expected, to improve Apple’s product line. The second was to improve its marketing – also to be expected. But the third, was to transform Apple’s supply chain, not as an after-thought, but to save the company from going to the wall. As the author, Sarkar, explains, Jobs cared about supply chains because he knew the price Apple was paying for having one “so shoddy and slipshod.”
To address this critical area, he assigned Tim Cook to the task, the man who has succeeded Jobs as the CEO. Cook reduced inventory from months to days, and forged long term deals with Apple suppliers for key components. This enabled Apple to become exceptionally fast at getting new products to consumers, causing sales to spiral upward.
Much of what we commonly understand by supply chain is based on Second World War methods, designed to get supplies to the end-users as fast as possible. Hitler’s failures in North Africa and Stalingrad were partly caused by supply breakdowns. Given the successes of the Allies’ supply chain management and sourcing techniques, they have been adopted by organizations of all types. However, in most organizations they have not changed fundamentally since World War 2, even in huge companies.
Those who have recognised the value of constantly examining and upgrading their systems, have reaped great benefit.
Retailers everywhere are under constant pressure, and many great brands have folded. In contrast, Zara, the Spanish clothing retailer with almost 7,000 stores in 88 countries, is thriving. This remarkable achievement is not based on the fashion flair of its founder, Amancio Ortega, the richest man in Europe, but on his attention to Zara’s supply chain. The retail clothing store, Gap for example, takes between 9 and 12 months to get is new designs into its 4,000 stores in 52 countries. Zara needs only 10 -15 days!
Zara is a perfect illustration of the connection between a company’s Functional Strategy, (the way of functioning that causes its strategy to be successful,) and its supply chain. Ortega’s view of clothing is that they are “perishable commodities like fruit: people change their styles frequently, depending on their whim or some fashion trend.” Ortega’s strategy is to feed that whim through Zara’s ability to get new designs to customers in a week or two.
In neither the case of Apple nor Zara is their supply chain thought of as backroom grunt-work, but a strategic imperative that requires attention and respect.
Author Sarkar’s obvious depth of knowledge and experience shines through the book. It provides a host of insights into where attention needs to be focused, to derive profit and growth benefits from one’s supply chain.
Understanding supply chain as the process by which materials are received and goods delivered, is a very narrow view. Coupled to one’s supply chain thinking must be the company’s procurement approach, and more specifically, sourcing: the supplier selection and management.
There are two broad approaches to dealing with suppliers. One is to bring the function inhouse either through developing the needed capacity, or by buying the supplying company. Google, Tesla, Microsoft and Pfizer are cited by Sarkar as companies using this approach – which has not proven to be a great success. The losses they have incurred make this point.
The other approach is the through the formation of alliances with suppliers. An alliance differs in material ways from simply choosing a supplier, based on its ability to deliver on a company’s current needs. Rather, it involves a long-view commitment to making the alliance successful, which only begins, not ends, with the signing of the agreement.
The is an art of forging and maintaining an alliance. It involves seeing the supplier as an ally, and working with the supplier company to achieve your goals, and theirs. Suppliers come and go, allies are expected to stay and work together.
Starbucks, the giant chain of 20,000 international coffee shops, owes their success in large part to the alliances forged by its founder Howard Schultz. Starbucks has used these alliance in key areas of business…

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

Today’s Growth Strategies are Different, July 18, 2017
By 
Kerrie (New York, NY) – See all my reviews
No longer are the days where spending more advertising dollars or buying more businesses guarantees corporate success! Those days are over. What makes a company profoundly successful in today’s market? How can leaders expand company’s growth exponentially?

The Title Says it All. Are businesses dissecting their supply chain to focus on profits versus cutting costs? If you are look for some competitive advantages, this book reveals some cutting edge strategies in operational areas such as supply chain and sourcing.

One chapter that caught my eye was on the significance of alliances. For example, in 1987, Howard Schultz, who bought Starbucks coffee from its original owners, (while other coffee sales were declining), created the "place to go other than home or work," a market that didn’t exist prior. Today, Starbucks opens 2 new stores per day on average! Their success is largely due to partnerships and tapping into innovation of OTHER providers and suppliers.

I also enjoyed reading about Amazon’s achievements. How did Amazon master a way of customer excellence that made it difficult for competitors to mimic? Turns out, to enhance customers’ satisfaction and needs, Amazon relied and invested heavily in its supply chain abilities. Why will customers pay more and more each year for Prime Membership, without even batting an eye? (Premium service is worth it, especially when it’s been mastered). Instead of being competitor obsessed, Amazon is customer obsessed.

In both examples, success boils down to combining partnerships and innovation through the SUPPLY CHAIN.
It’s refreshing to read about success and strategies that work in TODAY’S market to get there. Thank you.

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2 Comments


  1. How sourcing can bring excellence to the Supply Chain, December 11, 2017
    By 
    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    Well illustrated concepts.
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  2. 2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

    have reaped great benefit. Retailers everywhere are under constant pressure, June 19, 2017
    By 
    Ian Mann (Johannesburg, South Africa) –
    This review is from: The Supply Chain Revolution: Innovative Sourcing and Logistics for a Fiercely Competitive World (Kindle Edition)

    In the constant and often obsessive search for profit and growth, I think it would be fair to say that few CEO’s think of their supply chain and sourcing as an obvious area for their attention. They are far more inclined to look to a change in business model, strategy or geographic reach to meet their objectives.
    The value of this book lies in Sarkar’s cogent argument that will turn your understanding of supply chain from something “having about the same sex appeal as broccoli” into an area of immediate concern.
    The ‘Supply Chain Revolution’ covers both the opportunities in supply chain and sourcing in some depth, but I will focus only on a few aspects from each.
    When the late Steve Jobs returned to a failing version of the company he founded, he set himself three goals. The first was, as to be expected, to improve Apple’s product line. The second was to improve its marketing – also to be expected. But the third, was to transform Apple’s supply chain, not as an after-thought, but to save the company from going to the wall. As the author, Sarkar, explains, Jobs cared about supply chains because he knew the price Apple was paying for having one “so shoddy and slipshod.”
    To address this critical area, he assigned Tim Cook to the task, the man who has succeeded Jobs as the CEO. Cook reduced inventory from months to days, and forged long term deals with Apple suppliers for key components. This enabled Apple to become exceptionally fast at getting new products to consumers, causing sales to spiral upward.
    Much of what we commonly understand by supply chain is based on Second World War methods, designed to get supplies to the end-users as fast as possible. Hitler’s failures in North Africa and Stalingrad were partly caused by supply breakdowns. Given the successes of the Allies’ supply chain management and sourcing techniques, they have been adopted by organizations of all types. However, in most organizations they have not changed fundamentally since World War 2, even in huge companies.
    Those who have recognised the value of constantly examining and upgrading their systems, have reaped great benefit.
    Retailers everywhere are under constant pressure, and many great brands have folded. In contrast, Zara, the Spanish clothing retailer with almost 7,000 stores in 88 countries, is thriving. This remarkable achievement is not based on the fashion flair of its founder, Amancio Ortega, the richest man in Europe, but on his attention to Zara’s supply chain. The retail clothing store, Gap for example, takes between 9 and 12 months to get is new designs into its 4,000 stores in 52 countries. Zara needs only 10 -15 days!
    Zara is a perfect illustration of the connection between a company’s Functional Strategy, (the way of functioning that causes its strategy to be successful,) and its supply chain. Ortega’s view of clothing is that they are “perishable commodities like fruit: people change their styles frequently, depending on their whim or some fashion trend.” Ortega’s strategy is to feed that whim through Zara’s ability to get new designs to customers in a week or two.
    In neither the case of Apple nor Zara is their supply chain thought of as backroom grunt-work, but a strategic imperative that requires attention and respect.
    Author Sarkar’s obvious depth of knowledge and experience shines through the book. It provides a host of insights into where attention needs to be focused, to derive profit and growth benefits from one’s supply chain.
    Understanding supply chain as the process by which materials are received and goods delivered, is a very narrow view. Coupled to one’s supply chain thinking must be the company’s procurement approach, and more specifically, sourcing: the supplier selection and management.
    There are two broad approaches to dealing with suppliers. One is to bring the function inhouse either through developing the needed capacity, or by buying the supplying company. Google, Tesla, Microsoft and Pfizer are cited by Sarkar as companies using this approach – which has not proven to be a great success. The losses they have incurred make this point.
    The other approach is the through the formation of alliances with suppliers. An alliance differs in material ways from simply choosing a supplier, based on its ability to deliver on a company’s current needs. Rather, it involves a long-view commitment to making the alliance successful, which only begins, not ends, with the signing of the agreement.
    The is an art of forging and maintaining an alliance. It involves seeing the supplier as an ally, and working with the supplier company to achieve your goals, and theirs. Suppliers come and go, allies are expected to stay and work together.
    Starbucks, the giant chain of 20,000 international coffee shops, owes their success in large part to the alliances forged by its founder Howard Schultz. Starbucks has used these alliance in key areas of business…

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