Supply Chain Mapping from Achilles – our Adrian Chamberlain interview (part 2)

Following our recent interview, we talked in part 1 yesterday about Adrian Chamberlain, the CEO at Achilles, and how he sees their common platform benefiting clients and indeed suppliers. And there are other interesting developments going on across the firm and their client base.  One is “Supply Chain Mapping (SCM)”.

“This came out of the terrible Tsunami in Japan in 2011” explained Chamberlain. “Some businesses – including even the huge automotive firms – realised that they didn’t understand their supply chains well enough. They knew who their  1st tier suppliers were, and where they were situated, but they didn’t have the same information about 2nd and 3rd tier suppliers. And they can be just as important in terms of supply continuity”.

So when disaster struck, many manufacturers were surprised to find out just where their vulnerabilities lay.

“The new SCM platform allows organisations to literally map the supply tiers and their supply networks. We have developed it with Toyota Motor Europe, but it is applicable to other manufacturers and in other industries of course”.

As the Achilles announcement explains, this is now one of the key features of their Automotive community, which also includes Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover as well as Toyota Motor Europe.

“It  allows automotive companies to map out which supplier manufacturing sites are potentially exposed to risks including natural disasters, financial and CSR , to proactively mitigate any potential impact on global production. SCM will also address potential bottlenecks, reliance on single suppliers, and companies with long lead-in times which could impact on production.

The automotive community is now inviting Tier 1 suppliers, deemed as being critical to production, to provide information. These suppliers will cascade the request for information right down through the supply chain - creating a complete picture of supplier location, function and compliance across countries in a single database”.

 It’s perhaps surprising that Toyota Motor Europe, who had the original idea, have chosen to share this with competitors. But as Guillaume Jacques, Purchasing General Manager, Projects & Strategy Planning, for the firm explained :

“Toyota Motor Europe took a leading role in this project because we made the strategic decision to develop a Supply Chain Mapping solution before anyone else. .. One could wonder why TME want to share their initiative with other car makers. The answer is simple. OEMs’ supply chains are so inter-dependent that there is no point in TME trying to secure its supply chain on its own, as any OEM stopping production on a big scale would impact others within a very short time.”

We plan to take a closer look at the platform soon, but it looks like this initiative is  an unusual example of successful supply chain collaboration, in that it is working across competitors. And it certainly shows how technology is taking supplier information and supply chain risk management into new and very interesting areas.

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  1. Jon Bovit:

    Thank you for covering such a critical topic as supply chain mapping. For readers interested in a published case study on how EMC is addressing the topic, please see:

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