As I mentioned in my last post of this series, I am starting a blog series on “supply chain leadership”. I hope to pose thought provoking, and forward looking questions to executives in my supply chain network. This series will provide insights into the most pressing challenges, innovative items in supply chain leader's budgets, and how these executives have handled talent, complexity, end-to-end S&OP, and technology. Next up is Clarence Chen, Partner at AT Kearney. I have known Clarence from his days at PRTM as Partner of Electronics & Semiconductors. His background and opinions on the future of supply chain is truly fascinating. 1. As we enter 2014, how would you describe the most pressing supply chain challenges?
Some of the most pressing supply chain challenges in 2014 continues to be that of delivery, quality and cost. I think the factors that compound those challenges are changing at a faster pace than most industries are able to cope with, thereby making attainment of the core supply chain objectives even more challenging. There are two vectors for those factors: 1) At a geo-demographic level there are the shifting patterns of demand and growth along with cost factors rising quickly in some geographies/countries and inputs into production. 2) At a technological level, the pace of innovation continues to accelerate. Not only is the pace of NPI increasing in technology, but that same clock speed is now moving into broad sectors as trends such as the internet of things/devices become more pervasive beyond traditional high tech penetrating into industrial, healthcare, automotive sectors, etc. To cope with these factors, companies have to rethink the core supply chain capabilities of