Hyper Hyping Technology

In a recent AMR Research article on Business Week, Kevin O’Marah states “As businesses prepare for a new normal of hyper-volatility, the limits of the Japanese-inspired, low-tech, Lean philosophy are starting to show”. He goes on to use the latest AMR research on Supply Chain Risk to support his premise that the increasing level of supply chain complexity and risk requires an increase in the use of supply chain technology. This doesn’t surprise me coming from a technology industry guru, the answer to everything is always more complex technology.

However, his survey results don’t really support the idea that simpler (Kanban) is not better, the companies surveyed seemed to realize this year that the most successful supply chain risk mitagation strategies were closer collaboration with your suppliers, clear communication of expectations to your suppliers, and having a backup plan. The more things change, the more they stay the same, technology is a tool that can be leveraged to execute business more efficiently, but it cannot replace strong realtionships and clear communication in mitigating supply chain risk. In most cases, simpler is better…

Supply Chain Risk: Kanban Won’t Cut It

Posted by: Rachael King on July 16

Today, Kevin O’Marah, chief strategy officer for Boston-based advisory firm AMR Research, is guest blogging. Here’s his post:

Somali pirates, oil prices on a roller coaster, and poison peanuts are typical of the new reality for global supply chains in these crazy, turbulent times. As businesses prepare for a new normal of hyper-volatility, the limits of the Japanese-inspired, low-tech, Lean philosophy are starting to show. The global supply chain in 2009 is a lot more than just a factory and a loading dock – today’s system of plants, distribution centers and retail outlets works more like a worldwide telecoms network than an assembly line. Add a hefty dose of supply chain risk to the mix and a tech-free Lean gospel just can’t hack it anymore.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/technology_at_work/archives/2009/07/supply_chain_ri.html

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