Wanted: Purchasers Who Think Like Economists

NO RATINGS
1 saves
View comments: newest first | oldest first | threaded
Jennifer Baljko
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Wanted:
Jennifer Baljko   5/22/2011 8:06:42 AM
NO RATINGS

Thanks everyone for the thoughtful posts. I think you've all hit on sort of the magic formula companies may want to consider as they fill procurement and supply chain positions:

1. Reaping the "hidden" in-house knowledge: How can companies nurture and tap into the wealth of know-how already existing in their employees' head and experience. How do you collect this expertise and use it to an even greater advantage.

2. Getting some new ideas into the fold: Although some of the coursework may be mundane, but necessary, companies that find a way to put their employees' supply chain masters degrees to use in a way that sparks creative thinking may prove valuable. If these student or new hires have cross-industry experience, there could be some innovative way of connecting dots between markets, products and economies of scale.

3. Let IT automate. This has been said before. IT tools are necessary, and I think most companies have figured out how to get quite a lot out of them. IT, though, has never be the cureall, it was, in theory, the tool that would let supply chain professionals leave behind routine tasks and focus on more challenging tasks machines and software couldn't handle.

How exactly should companies allocate this three-prong "formula," well that's probably what shakes out great companies from not-so-great comanies

Barbara Jorgensen
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Wanted:
Barbara Jorgensen   5/19/2011 3:46:16 PM
NO RATINGS

Hi hwong--what I should have said was companies that think buying IT is the TOTAL  solution to the problem. Some of the best IT I've ever seen was developed in-house at distribution companies through collaborative efforts in warehousing, puchasing, IT, sales etc. IT is a key element to the entire solution, and thanks as always for your input!

hwong
User Rank
Supply Network Guru
Re: Wanted:
hwong   5/19/2011 3:33:47 PM
NO RATINGS

Actually, there are alot of software products that are very smart and build upon the high level strategy. For example, IBM ilog's previous netowrk optimization tool  (LogicTools) was developed by MIT renowed professor David Simchi Levi.

This tool uses optimization methods to help companies make best decsisions about allocating, producing, distributing products in order to keep up with the customer service level.  So some of the "IT" that you mentioned are actually helpful. But I can totally understand where your view comes from . Alot of the companies keep hyping about how they invest in IT but in reality, it's not really that efficient.

Barbara Jorgensen
User Rank
Blogger
Wanted:
Barbara Jorgensen   5/19/2011 8:43:56 AM
NO RATINGS

Great article as always, Jenn. I find the gap between the high-level thinking and hands-on execution to be an ongoing problem. We see many white papers, research reports and theories on improving the supply chian without a lot of thought paid to the day-to-day efforts of moving material from Point A to Point B. Every time someone tells me their supply chain problems can be fixed by buying more IT I roll my eyes (in private). The companies that are best in the business call on the folks who actualy pick and move material to help executive the high-level strategies of the business. Maybe we should get back to the days when an executive begins on a factory or warehouse floor and works their way up from there,

That's not to say MBAs or other degrees aren't a huge help--they are. I think economics is a great insight to have, particulalry when trying to forecast in times like these.

Jay_Bond
User Rank
Supply Network Guru
re:
Jay_Bond   5/19/2011 7:16:35 AM
NO RATINGS

Your article is very informative and brings up many good points. Many companies are running into problems with getting experienced candidates for their job postings. With companies shifting focus to having more college educated employees as opposed to experienced employees without degrees, they are losing out on valuable experience. Companies are looking at college graduates with degrees that sometimes don't translate well in the real world, instead of experienced employees without the schooling who have vast knowledge in their field.

If more and more companies are going to be focused primarily on hiring college grads, there needs to be changes made to the curriculum to better prepare these graduates for the reality of the jobs. Employers are expecting more knowledge and multitasking than ever, and if you're only thinking like the text book taught you, you're headed for a rough ride.

 

DennisQ
User Rank
Supply Network Guru
A Lot of Issues
DennisQ   5/18/2011 2:03:53 PM
NO RATINGS

Nice article, Jennifer... you actually touch on a wide variety of issues here. I'll just focus on a few.

I certainly agree there's a shortage of supply chain talent. And figuring out a way to remedy that situation is super tricky. Logistics is a really tough sell as a potential career path for a teenager and it's super difficult to figure out a way to make it more attractive.

And even if someone does get into a supply chain program, I'm not convinced many institutions are actually teaching skills that are relevant. You mention a couple of places where some deficiencies lie. I certainly agree that future supply chain managers will need a whole bunch of new and more varied skills.

But then again, tech supply chain management is vastly different than, say, supplying food and weapons for the armed forces halfway across the world during a war. How can these institutions be expected to teach EVERYTHING? They really can't. Again, it's tricky.



More Blogs from Logical Link
A growing talent shortage in supply chain and logistics jobs means the industry needs to get kids interested in the area much earlier than currently happens.
Any big business moves are likely to affect the connected supply chain. Let's look at how recent happenings at Alibaba and Amazon are likely to shake things up.
Thieves are targeting metal as a potentially lucrative score.
Supply chain pros keep a close eye on pricing and availability of natural resources as a way of controlling costs and avoiding manufacturing challenges.
Supply chain leaders know that advanced supply chain capabilities directly impact the organization's bottom line.

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EBN Dialogue / LIVE CHAT
EBN Dialogue enables you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Open to the entire EBN community of electronics supply chain experts, these conversations see ideas shared, comments made, and questions asked and answered in real time. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats. Stay tuned and join in!
Archived Dialogues
Live Chat 7/24: Effective Channel Management
Joe Alphonse and Tom Howell of Revitas discuss how to implement an effective channel management strategy.
Live Chat 6/23: Smart Homes & Semiconductors
As much as we talk about big data, "little data" (all those bits and bytes generated by smart appliances and technologies) are also going to change the industry.
Latest Poll
The Velocity Report Archive
Click here to see our newsletter archive.
EBN Newswire
VÉLIZY-VILLACOUBLAY, FRANCE   7/24/2014
Dassault Systèmes to Acquire Quintiq
THIEF RIVER FALLS, MN   6/26/2014
Digi-Key Employees Advance Education & Employment ...
Twitter Feed
EBN Online Twitter Feed