How Far Have we Come? How Far Can we Go?

I recently came across this op/ed column in Supply Chain Digest that offers up some worthwhile perspectives on C-level involvement in supply chain issues. According to the column, "In general, most CEOs today understand the costs and economics of supply chains ... buying, making, moving, storing, distributing, and selling goods costs money. If nothing else, we have raised this awareness, inasmuch as the total costs can easily amount to 65-85% of the operating costs of the business. And, the rapidly expanding globalization of sourcing and distributing processes have heightened this awareness ... However, not nearly enough awareness is present in the executive suites and boardrooms ... Only the top supply chain companies -- and not even all of these -- have CEO and board-level understanding of this untapped power."

Ever since I got my start in the sourcing world at FreeMarkets nearly a decade ago, the importance of elevating procurement and supply chain issues to the C-suite and Board level has been a mantra that nearly every vendor, consultant and practitioner has preached. That's not changed. But despite the constant refrain, have we really succeeded? In most organizations, I'd say judging by compensation -- the true measure of importance -- CFOs and VPs of Sales are still more highly compensated than heads of procurement and supply chain. But the trump card here for all of us, as Supply Chain Digest points out, is potentially Asia. Sourcing from and selling into developing countries throughout Asia in the next fifty years is one of largest potential opportunities for all manufacturers and retailers worldwide. And success and failure will depend in large part on procurement and operations success. And that's something we can all stake our careers -- and standing within our companies -- on.

Jason Busch

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