Time To Move Past Best Practices Measurement

"After about a decade of successful adoption of integrated supply chain management (SCM) concepts the industry is now able to reap substantial benefits, providing that companies move beyond a fixation on best practices," said Larry Lapide, research director at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. As project manager of the multi-year MIT Supply Chain 2020 Project, Lapide would like to see companies move toward process innovations.

The study, which recently completed its first phase, looks at supply chain leaders such as Dell, Wal-Mart and Toyota to uncover how these companies use their supply chains to gain competitive advantages. The research concludes that it takes years to ensure that elements of the supply chain work together. The study cites Dell as an example of a leading supply chain developed over many years with a focus on operational efficiency and speed in its direct-to-consumer operating model. Additionally, the study notes Wal-Mart was able to overtake Sears by using its supply chain to produce lower prices.

Why aren't other companies able to replicate the success of these leaders? Mainly because companies assumed, incorrectly, that it is possible to distill these experiences into a set of best practices that can be universally applied to achieve the same results. The study concludes that each organization has specific strategies based on particular circumstances and cannot be considered 'best practices' since they were developed only for these companies. The processes are not transferable.

To learn more about further conclusions of the study visit http://web.mit.edu/ctl/www/research/sc2020/re_sc2020.htm


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