19 October 2000
Lean supply chains will disappear within three years as firms become more agile to cope with customer demand and market competition, according to logistics experts.
Uncertain customer demand was forcing companies to respond in real-time, increase stock and challenge their traditional supply chain set-ups, delegates to the Logistics Forum 2000, on board the P&O liner Aurora, heard.
"There will be a major revolution in supply chain practices in the next few years," said Alan Harrison, professor of operations and logistics at Cranfield School of Management. "Firms will become more flexible."
But he warned that manufacturers would balk at the increasing production and transport costs, essential for an agile supply chain. These increases would be around 17 per cent.
George Rzevski, professor of intelligent systems at Brunel University, said agility in the supply chain was emerging as a result of global competition.