'Give supply chain execs leading role in business strategy'

31 March 2021

Supply chain leaders should be given "a leading role" in transforming business models to meet changing environments, according to research.

A white paper by Dutch business association Evofenedex said: “Supply chain professionals need to be highly involved in the strategic efforts of an organisation, and more specifically in the development and implementation of new business models."

Jack van der Veen, chair of supply chain management (SCM) at Evofenedex, professor at Nyenrode Business University and report author, said: “Unfortunately in many organisations supply chain is considered as a very operational-oriented unit and all to often a necessary evil whose only task is to reduce cost and deliver as promised.

“Any business model has a major supply chain component in it. Therefore for developing and execution of new business models, the supply chain must have a leading role. When applied, this would improve business model idea generation, decision making, and implementation.”

This would also require “supply chain directors to think and act strategically and [be] entrepreneurial”, possibly breaking away from traditional practices.

The paper said: "The supply chain manager can play a key role in seeing that new opportunities bear fruit. They have oversight on many of the vital processes in a company and is therefore a good choice to introduce the elements for new business models."

They can be of more value as a leading decision-maker from the start, rather than “simply commenting on finalised decisions”.

Supply chain management was also best placed to monitor risks that come with “fundamental changes” to business, such as those prompted by the pandemic and geopolitical shifts.

Supply chain execs can help organisations move away from a reactive, “business-as-usual” short-term approach to a long-term solution that incorporates innovation, agile processes, and collaboration between departments, the report said.

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