Volume 3, Issue 3
April 2005

Map of The Month

an apparent change in the direction of an object caused by a change in observational positioning that creates a new line of sight.
From the Greek: to change
Para: to see.
The Interview: Collaborating with Ron Ireland, A Supply Chain Pioneer
By Ann Grackin
About ten years ago I had the privilege of working with some extraordinary guys from Wal-Mart, at the birth of Collaboration. Ron was one of them...
Read the Interview

Remapping the Supply Chain Universe
By Ann Grackin and Sree Hameed
Over the last few years the fundamental structure of the chains has changed to the point where many of the working assumptions have to be re-evaluated.
Read the Article

Confessions of a Techno Junkie
By Lonnie Childs
My problem is best described as technology overdose. Specifically, I currently own more electronics technology than I can personally absorb in 5 lifetimes, and yet technology and I are far from finished...
Read the Article

Every year we review the world of technology and its impact on Supply Chain.  What has been brewing in the lab here at ChainLink for quite some time is the recognition that we do have a crisis in the implementation of technology.  There are many reasons for this, which ChainLink Research has been addressing in our research model and in our engagements with clients.

What is key is that the problems in project success—or failure—are built in long before the project plan is created. Much has been written about various aspects, but we would like to focus on a few key issues that we believe are not adequately addressed in the technology.

If we were ever good at selecting technology, things have changed.  The delivery architecture (the platform, licensing etc.) has changed, and users do not adequately understand.  So, we created an approach to update your thinking beyond the expired approach to software selection.  It is based on new architectural approaches, intersecting with the business requirements of the users.  In other words, form follows function. If you are managing across the supply chain—inter-enterprise—your solution probably should be based on a shared or federated architecture.  So what is "Federated?"

Business models, and therefore Supply Chains, have responded to the enabling technologies of networks, pervasive technologies (wireless, RFID, etc.) as well as the ubiquitous connected universe we live in. New business opportunities have emerged, so the supply chain models have moved beyond Virtual.

Frameworks for selecting technology need a foundation—what is the true business process and how do the linkages work together? We are delighted to have a column on this topic by Dr. Divakar Rajamani, who is head of the Center for Intelligent Supply Chain Networks at the University of Texas at Dallas. So, understanding the business, the processes, the performance and the opportunity for new enablers is critical to business success. 

Being successful in Supply Chain Management is a challenge, since most firms do not have a performance framework created with their trading partners. This is why there is such a long way to gain true collaboration with trading partners.  Speaking of Collaboration, one of the ‘fathers’ of Collaboration, Ron Ireland, has authored a book, Supply Chain Collaboration. Read The Interview with Ron.

So, in this issue we launch the Supply Chain Universe Map. You will see this approach come up in many locations, since we are using this map with many media partners, as well as with ChainLink’s approaches to technology selection.

But with aversion or avoidance you can’t succeed.  So, if you are a techno adverse individual, and learning to live with it, then embracing it is the way to go.   

We welcome your feedback on your experiences with managing technology projects!