Supply Chain Silos: Industry Analyst Dynamics Reflect Company Challenges

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.

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Voices (2)

  1. Bob Ferrari:

    Jason- we at Supply Chain Matters also share in the observation that insights in the end-to-end supply chain focus have been narrowed to just a few. We have always maintained an end-to-end focus since our founding, and will continue to share these insights openly.

    We accept the challenge to continue these efforts as the independent voice for cross-functional supply chain audiences and not just a one dimensional view.

    Bob Ferrari, Founder, Supply Chain Matters

  2. Edith Simchi-Levi:

    I agree with you on the loss of focused supply chain analyst talent as we had at AMR. The consolidation of enterprise software has made it hard to maintain, since these companies were paying for these services. But interest in end to end supply chain is strong – we see procurement and supply chain coming under the same executive in many companies, new Master’s and executive programs and more awareness of the importance of operations but related to new topics such as managing risk. IT investment interest has changed now that most companies have enterprise systems, they will differentiate through the use of more specialized analytics to understand and act on their unique needs and opportunities.

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