There’s a somewhat sad irony in the supply chain commentary that Lora Cecere put forth in a recent piece in Forbes: Don't Make Supply Chain a Dirty Word! To wit, the silos that Lora discusses in her post, for example, thwart companies from delivering on “end-to-end, demand shaping programs [that are] orchestrated against commodity strategies” such as trade promotions. And they are not so different from the siloed coverage of supply chain and procurement topics in the broader market. Just as most companies are failing to deliver on the process of systematically and collecting managing the demand and supply sides of their business, so too are analysts and publications failing to deliver integrated coverage of the market.
Historically speaking, AMR Research – and Lora Cecere, along with our Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell, are both alumni – came closest to bridging the demand and supply equation and coverage silos, including delivering research that spanned (and sometimes integrated) such topics such as inventory planning and forecasting, product lifecycle management, indirect procurement, direct procurement, supply risk management, sales and operations planning (S&OP), etc.
But today, inside the Gartner IT Borg, AMR is not the firm it used to be. And no other single firm has stepped up and assumed the same level of integrated coverage (note: even if AMR did not always succeed in operational and IT silos, they tried, and the collective cross-functional supply chain knowledge of the team has not yet been duplicated – not even close).
Today, Spend Matters represents the dominant force covering procurement (really the only force with any depth and bench strength, which is sad). Lora is doing a great job with a broad set of supply chain topics with her firm. And others, such as SCM World, ARC / Logistics Viewpoints, and Supply Chain Matters (Bob Ferrari), are tackling different areas as well. Yet not one powerhouse has emerged to build a next-generation AMR. We hope to keep on bridging the silos with new sites and research services, but we hope others make the effort as well.