Supply chain excellence in manufacturing

Today I had the opportunity to take part at a Master Class on Supply chain management with Professor Martin Christopher from Cranfield University, Bedford, UK. The master class was hosted by Implement Consulting and the attendants were coming from all Industries in Denmark.


Professor Christopher succeeded to draw a relevant picture of the future trends and challenges to global supply chain management and to manufacturing in particular, and I would like to share a couple of quotes and thoughts.


  • Move from forecast driven to demand driven - Instead of planning to replenish inventory, establish supply chains that allow you to fulfill demand as a single event.
  • For products, where individuality and responsiveness are relevant, the agile supply chain - and the agile manufacturing process - must be designed for responsiveness, not for the lowest cost. Responsiveness has to be built in the process and comes with a certain cost.
  • Substitute information for inventory - sharing information on demand and supply chain execution across the supply chain helps reducing or even eliminating inventory.
  • Flexible capacity - Move from static capacity to flexible capacity models, that allow to scale according to actual demand. Instead of acquiring manufacturing and distribution capacity based on forecast before the fact, a now model of
    acquiring capacity options that can be used on specific actual demand is emerging in the markets.
  • Economics of scale vs. Economics of scope - Instead of the volume of products, the bandwidth of products that can be delivered out of a supply chain drives the economic success.


It was an inspiring morning, leaving me with a lot of thoughts and ideas.

If you are inspired as well about these topics, join Roxana, Sverre and me at our session on Mass customization in a distributed supply chain in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 at Convergence EMEA in Barcelona next
week, where we will share our vision on how the combination of product configuration, intercompany planning and lean manufacturing can bring you to the next level of supply chain excellence.