In recognition of his groundbreaking work on supply chain design and dynamic alignment, Dr. John Gattorna has been selected to receive the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' (CSCMP) 2018 Distinguished Service Award (DSA). Gattorna will accept the award, which is one of the profession's highest honors, on October 1 at CSCMP's Annual EDGE Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
Unaware that he had been nominated, Gattorna said he was surprised and honored to receive the DSA, which was instituted in 1965 as a tribute to logistics pioneer John Drury Sheahan.
"The recognition that comes with this award means a lot to me," said Gattorna in an email message. "I have been working in and around the supply chain domain for 40 years, trying to push the edges of existing knowledge, and create some strong conceptual underpinnings from what was pretty light on theory at the start. In effect, my work and that of my co-workers has been aimed at creating a body of theory out of the best practices observed in companies operating their global supply chains. In doing so, we are able to make the future a little more predictable, especially in times of rising volatility in the operating environment."
Gattorna is perhaps best known for his books,Living Supply Chains and Dynamic Supply Chains: How to Design, Build and Manage People-Centric Value Networks,which place a heavy emphasis on the human element of supply chain management. While experts have long said that supply chain excellence depends on a three-part focus on people, process, and technology, the people part of the equation often gets short shrift. Gattorna, however, has always placed people at the heart of supply chain management, arguing that supply chains should be seen as ecosystems of human beings, from customers on the front end to suppliers to on the back end.
"I believe that it is human behavior and decision making, supported by technology, that propels supply chains forward into their respective target markets," he said. "Yet, in most cases this human influence is ignored. It is an area where I think we can make great leaps forward in supply chain performance if we are able to master the interface between these soft and harddimensions."
Gattorna's work also focuses on the need for enterprise supply chains or value networks to be "dynamically aligned" to the customer segment that they serve. A key part of this is making adjustments to who are members of the supply chain and how they are configured as these market segments change and evolve over time.
"Consistent with 'design thinking,' I am a huge proponent of starting from the outside (customers), interpreting their expectations, and using these insights to design the internal supply chain infrastructure in a very precise way—not the other way around," he said.
In addition to his writing and research, Gattorna is the executive chairman of Gattorna Alignment,a Sydney, Australia-based firm specializing in supply chain thought leadership, and an adjunct professor at the University of Technology Sydney Business School.
The award recognizes Gattorna's long-term commitment to sharing his best thinking with peers and business associates around the world, said Rick Blasgen, president and CEO of CSCMP. "John quickly became known as a passionate leader of our discipline, advising, teaching, and mentoring other people along the way," said Blasgen. "His impact has been felt for decades and will continue to do so as the journey toward supply chain excellence takes hold in more and more companies."
Indeed, Gattorna has worked with many "blue chip" companies, such as Dell, Ralph Lauren, Unilever, Teys Australia, Schneider Electric, and DHL on redesigning their supply chains to be more holistic, dynamic, and customer-centric.
"John has been a pioneer in how to take supply chain from a cost function to a business imperative," said Annette Clayton, CEO and president of Schneider Electric North America and chief supply chain officer, in a letter of recommendation for the award. "His body of work takes the supply chain profession from the factory and distribution center floors to the board rooms as a strategic advantage for companies. The dynamic alignment work has taught our companies how to move from a 'one-size-fits-all' supply chain to a tailored and segmented approach that is rooted in science and the voice of the customer."
Gattorna is also a lifelong supporter of diabetes charities. In recent years, he has served as a supply chain adviser to the "Life for a Child" charity, which supplies diabetes medication to children with Type 1 diabetes in developing countries.