Andrea Charman, Executive Director, CTS Inc, New York, NY 10017, 212 661 5682, Andreacharman@ctsus.com
Improving supply chain effectiveness used to be all about cutting cost through the improvement of purchasing, logistics and distribution functions. It began with leveraged savings through supplier consolidation and focused process mapping and redesign, plus best partner selection. Today, technology is changing our business environment forever as it changes the very concept of the business enterprise. The result is an emerging model with organizations forming high performance networks in their attempts to meet the ever-more demanding expectations of the customer/consumer within continually shortening timeframes. This development has encouraged a radical broadening of focus from early supply chain optimization concentration on internal process excellence towards an extended inclusive model that embraces external partners - the total network. In this climate, the arbiters of success shift towards the ability to maintain fast product and service innovation to satisfy the ultimate consumer, achieved through excellence in network management with its emphasis on transparent integrated (or synthesized) collaborative effort. Competency in business relationships, and all that this implies, take center stage, with cutting edge technology a given. The potential barriers to excellence in this interenterprise (and often global) model begin with certain organizational cultures of distrust where cultural and emotional intelligence are in short supply and where hostility and adversarial attitudes abound.