CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
December 12, 2018
Forward Thinking

"3-D" supply chains could spur job creation, bloggers contend

Business partners advocate "public" supply chains that would allow small and medium-size companies to better compete against corporate giants.

In a blog post on the Huffington Post website, business partners Ho-Hyung Lee and Jess Parmer argue that what they call "3-D" (three-dimensional) supply chains could create new jobs and revive the U.S. economy.

Their commentary, "Supply Chain Revolution: How a 3-D supply chain could create many new jobs and revitalize the economy," contends that current supply chains are linear, or "2-D" in makeup—in essence, private networks connecting suppliers and customers. Technology, the authors say, has allowed companies to create their own "electronic supply chain networks," providing a competitive advantage for bigger companies while destabilizing smaller ones. They believe the drive for efficiency in 2-D supply chains has pushed the big suppliers and service providers increasingly into offshoring, outsourcing, and automation, resulting in the loss of workers' jobs.

Lee and Parmer propose that business adopt a so-called "3-D" model—a public, electronic hub that would connect suppliers into a trading community and enable the open trading of goods. In their proposed model, small and medium-size companies would be better able to compete against corporate giants. Companies also would cooperate more than they do now; for example, small retailers could team up with competitors to insure as a group against theft losses. And because this model would be larger in size and would distribute expenses across all participants, the authors contend, it would increase delivery speed, flexibility, and productivity for participants, making them more competitive and leading to the creation of more jobs.

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