In these tough economic times, most companies and the people working for them across the globe are just looking to get by. Make do. Survive. If you're responsible for managing a supply chain, it's a good bet that right now you're focused on cutting costs rather than on improving the operation.
With survival uppermost on your mind, you're probably not thinking about what new things you or your organization might want to accomplish next year—or the year after. I admit it's tough to think about the future when the economy around us looks so bleak. The steady barrage of news announcing declining sales, job cuts, and tumbling stock prices is enough to make anyone worry about making it through today.
But consider this: If you don't give some thought to the road ahead, you might find yourself stuck at a dead end when the economy does turn around.
That's why now is the time to ask yourself whether your supply chain is prepared to handle the upturn that surely will come. In other words, if your company aims to prosper in the future you need to start thinking today about how you can prepare for tomorrow.
This edition of CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly can offer you some ideas in that regard. For example, our "Forward Thinking" section, includes an item about a study on how successful companies align their supply chain strategies with their products' characteristics. You'll find other thoughtprovoking ideas in that section as well.
Anyone involved in electronic commerce will want to read "The Long Tail of e-commerce standards," which offers ideas for dealing with the multitude of electronic data-transmission standards. There's also "The software question: To buy or build?", an interesting piece about how two companies in the same industry took different paths to software implementation. One chose to buy a commercial package, while the other commissioned customized software from a nearby university.
The feature articles in this issue also provide food for thought. Our cover story ("Now's the time for an India strategy") suggests that tax changes under way in India make now a good time to prepare a strategy to serve that huge, fast-growing market. And if you're sourcing parts or products from China, you might want to read "How to build better relationships in China", our article about ways to tighten supplier relations in that country.
Even if your company is hunkered down in survival mode and management doesn't want to hear about ideas for the future, it's still important to expose yourself to new thinking and remain alert to new possibilities and emerging strategies. When the economy does take a turn for the better and you are ready with ideas for change, you will be the person everyone looks to as a supply chain leader.