CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
December 19, 2018
CSCMP Notebook

Interview: Rick Blasgen on the supply chain as mediator

The CSCMP president and CEO discusses the supply chain profession's role and challenges for the future.

A recent interview with CSCMP President and CEO Rick Blasgen highlights his vision of the organization's and the supply chain profession's role and challenges for the future. The interview was conducted by the consulting and education firm LeanCor and has been posted in a blog on the company's website.

In the conversation, Blasgen, a former supply chain executive, discusses how he has long viewed supply chain management as a source of revenue and customer service, not as just a cost-cutting center. He says that to be successful, supply chain management must not only be aligned with a business's overall strategy, it must also be embedded in the strategy itself.

In particular, supply chain management plays an essential role as a sort of mediator within an organization, helping to balance cost and service levels. Blasgen mentions that a former boss, Doug Conant, who was CEO of the consumer packaged goods giant Nabisco, used to say that like Switzerland, supply chain management is neutral. "You make sure to balance all of the different functional areas that compose the supply chain while assuring lowest delivered cost with the best customer service," Blasgen explains. "Supply chain leaders need to have a high level of integrity and ethics to bring together the partners to ensure the flow of information, goods, and money that the supply chain encompasses."

As they continue to play the role of mediator, today's supply chain professionals are also navigating three common challenges: growing globalization, technological innovations, and a gap between the demand for supply chain talent and the available supply. Blasgen sees CSCMP as playing a vital role in responding to those challenges through providing relevant research, education, and career-development programs as well as opportunities to connect with fellow supply chain leaders.

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