Daily Archives: September 19, 2010

To Really Be Successful At Supplier Risk Management, ADMIRE!

Not only is supplier risk at the forefront of thought these days, but articles on it are at the forefront of online publications as well, including this recent article in Supply Chain Digest on the key drivers of successful supplier risk management. However, most of the articles miss the point.

For example, according to this article, the trick to successful supplier risk management is to:

  1. engage top-level management,
  2. segment suppliers based on relative risk,
  3. rigorously measure and manage risk,
  4. give category managers tools and training, and
  5. collaborate with key suppliers.

Which is all good advice that is fine and dandy, but it misses the point. Risk management is all about identify risks, identifying mitigations, monitoring risks, and executing mitigations at the appropriate time. Management support is important, but it doesn’t have anything to do with risk identification or mitigation. Segmentation is a good tactic as more attention needs to be placed on suppliers which represent more significant risks, but again it has nothing to do with risk identification or mitigation. The same goes for giving category managers tools and training. Collaboration is relevant only if the mitigation requires collaboration. In other words, in this list, the only key driver is the “rigorous management and mitigation of risk”.

The reality is that success depends on your ability to ADMIRE the situation. Specifically, the ability to:

  • Ascertain the risks,
  • Define the risks that could cause significant damage,
  • Monitor those risks,
  • Identify appropriate mitigations,
  • React when signs of the risk begin to materialize, and
  • Engage the supplier when collaboration is required to mitigate the risks.

That’s it.

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Want a Successful Supply Chain Enterprise? Architect It!

As per Wikipedia, an enterprise architecture is a rigorous description of the structure of an enterprise that describes the terminology, the composition of the subsystems, their relationships with the external environment, and the guiding principles for the design and evolution of an enterprise. The goal of an enterprise architecture exercise is an operational description of the organization that is comprehensive and includes enterprise goals, business functions, business processes, roles, organizational structures, business information, software applications, and computer systems that are in alignment.

Done right, an enterprise architecture provides the logical framework that establishes the links between business strategy and organizational structures, processes, databases, and technologies and improves organizational performance by decreasing organizational cost, reducing complexity, reducing risk, and increasing organizational agility — keys to success in today’s tough economic climate.

Furthermore, the integrated view of business and IT architectures not only allows for improved performance, but limits operational risk by allowing for the controlled coexistence of old and new processes. It’s a great recipe for success as it allows for the controlled evolution of the supply chain function from good to great.

As proof that it works, consider this recent article in Startegy + Business on Strategy by Design which discussed how even a large (UK) government agency, which had been largely paper-based with fragmented workflow processes and outdated IT systems, was able to reduce the average time to process claims by more than 70% while slashing the number of processing centers by 60% by adopting the discipline of the EA process.

So how does one master Enterprise Architecture and build a successful supply chain enterprise? According to the article, the organization focusses on the dimensions of:

  • Strategic Alignment

    that focusses on achieving real business results

  • Leadership & Staff Development

    where top management communicates the intended value throughout the organization

  • Performance Measurement

    that accurately captures the impact of the EA initiative on a regular basis is critical to strengthen the message

  • Organizational Structure and Formal Processes

    that provide a strong foundation

It’s a good message, and a good plan.

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