I’m through with standing in line
To clubs we’ll never get in
It’s like the bottom of the ninth
And I’m never gonna win
This life hasn’t turned out
Quite the way I want it to be
from Rockstar by Nickelback
Supply Management hasn’t exactly been the poster-child of the corporation in recent years. In fact, in some organizations it would have been lucky to be the Island of Misfit toys that Mr. Dominick of Next Level Purchasing has compared it to. But if the Resource Revolution comes to pass, that might all change.
A recent article in the 2014 Q2 Edition of the McKinsey Quarterly that asked Are you ready for the resource revolution? said that another industrial revolution is coming, and while the first two focussed on labour and capital, two of the three primary business inputs identified by Adam Smith in his classic treatise The Wealth of Nations, the third will focus on the last input identify by Adam Smith — resources that come from the land.
According to the authors, who recently authored Resource Revolution, five approaches will be utilized by companies that lead the resource revolution. And three of these — namely substitution, optimization, and virtualization — will be critical to success. (The other two, circularity — or design for reuse and recycle, and waste elimination — or lean to the next level, will primarily be used in conjunction with the other methods to deliver significant enhancements that neither approach on its own to achieve. )
Substitution, the process of replacing costly, clunky, and/or scarce materials with cheaper, better, and more readily available materials, is already being used by those companies that have advanced to the highest stage of maturity in Supply Management.
Optimization, the process of embedding software in resource-intensive industries to improve how companies produce and use scarce resources, is also being used by those companies that have advanced to the highest stage of maturity in Supply Management.
Virtualization, the process of moving processes out of the physical world, is being employed by leading manufacturers (who will use a platform like Aravo’s) to determine the most efficient and cost effective process to produce a part as well as aircraft and car manufacturers (who will use advanced 3D modelling tools) to determine the most environmentally friendly or best performing design. But this too will be used more and more by leading Supply Management organizations to design the best supply chain to support the products and the business.
And when you get right down to it, no other organization in the corporation is in a position to make more use of these approaches than any other. That’s why, if the Resource Revolution is to come to pass, forward-thinking Supply Managers will have to lead the way, and become the corporate rockstars they always desired to be. (And put those motor-mouth marketers in their place.)