Angel Mendez and Cisco's Global Supply Chain

While Angel Mendez probably won't remember me, I vividly recall doing a quick interview with him when he was at Palm a couple of years back. He impressed me not only with his knowledge of strategic sourcing, but also manufacturing and general supply chain management operations issues. Now, Mendez has gotten booted upstairs at an even larger organization, high-tech giant Cisco, where he serves as SVP of Worldwide Manufacturing. Given his title, my guess is that his real office location is @ 30,000 feet in business class somewhere between the West Coast and Asia, regardless of what his business card really says.

Mendez recently sat down with World Trade Magazine where he was interviewed about what Cisco was doing with its sourcing and operations strategy. When I wrote this post last week, the article was not yet available on World Trade’s website. But it might be now. Here are a couple of Mendez's more insightful comments: "There are very few large companies [like us] that are organized ... where everyone is managed by one supply chain function. So we have the capability to range from low complexity-higher volume products to a much higher complexity-lower volume products ... the other commentary is that we are doing things in some areas where we think we've got a lot of innovation ... Take risk management. We’re trying to be more anticipatory in terms of potential disruptions in our chains and how we would recover and how we put together redundant capabilities."

In the rest of the interview, Mendez has some great points about how to manage and forecast demand in new product introductions in "early adopter" areas. He also talks more about the integration of lean, JIT, TQM and risk management programs. All in all, a great interview, from a rising star in the Spend Management world who works at the intersection of risk management, strategic sourcing and global manufacturing operations.

Jason Busch

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