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Supply Chain Matters Book Review: Supply Chain Transformation by Richard Sherman

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From time to time throughout the year, authors send us various new books dealing with timely content related to global supply chain management. One this author’s 2013 New Year’s resolutions is to be more timely on providing our Supply Chain Matters readers with some select reviews and/or recommendations regarding books written on timely and important topics.

With all that occurred in 2012, we were remiss in not providing such reviews on a timely basis.

We begin with a review of the book, Supply Chain Transformation, Practical Roadmap to Best Practice Results, authored by Richard J. Sherman.

We must preface our review by stating up-front that this author has known Rich for many years, both as working for the same employer many years ago and by joint speaking and other opportunities related to Rich’s professional and professional association career in supply chain management.  Rich was gracious enough to include my name in the long listing of Acknowledgements related to his book. He has also contributed a previous guest posting on this blog.

The book itself is a pleasant read that provides a narrative of learning from Rich’s 30 year career in many aspects of transforming supply chain management. It provides a particular emphasis on organizational change management tenets related to major supply chain initiatives including those related to people, organizational culture and technology factors.

Readers who know of Rich, can relate to the fact that he can be outspoken on certain topics. That is reflected in some of the chapter and sub-chapter headings in his book.  Examples:

You Can’t Break Down the Silos: Collaboration is the Key

Guess What? The Forecast is Wrong, Deal with it.

If You’re Driven by Demand, You’re Probably Being Driven Crazy

Lean Six Sigma is Not an Option- It’s a Requirement

Business as Usual Has Been Cancelled, Now What?

In the book, Rich argues that rather than constant disappointments in attempting to breakdown the various organizational silos across the broad supply chain functional landscape, thinking of supply chain management as a holistic framework that responds to the organization’s required business operating system can result in a more-timely path of transformation.  He also provides arguments that rather than being “demand-driven”, the supply chain organization can better benefit by being “demand responsive”.

I found Chapters 7 through 9 to be the most insightful parts of the book. Chapter 7 outlines recommendations for how to get senior management commitment for supply chain initiatives. It provides emphasis on the ability to communicate the language of senior management, and how to map to key executive performance indicators of revenue and profitability growth. Chapter 8 outlines how technology drives waves of change and how emerging technologies such as cloud computing, auto id item tracking and robotics will continue to impact supply chain management. Chapter 9 brings all the tenets together in a developing an operating plan and creating a culture for change.

The book itself is an easy read and can be very helpful for those readers just getting started in their careers in supply chain management, or those experienced managers that find they need a jolt of different thinking. It is written in Rich’s unique, informal, conversational style, including some doses of the sarcasm and humor.

Bob Ferrari

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