Tapping the Supply Chain Opportunity
In Part I of this series, I described how supply chain thinking can be applied to business and career decisions. Correctly identifying your “value proposition” is the key to being able to diagram where in the chain of buying and selling relationships you can be most effective. Building on your core competencies, and recognizing that you need to manage your supply chain relationships becomes the business proposition. Chances are that when you first examine your supply chain, you will find that you have been a slave to it, rather than a master of it.
I also noted that by rethinking and realistically recasting your assumptions about the business you are in—the manufacturing and the content business—and your value proposition, you can become the master of your link in the chain.
As a highly collaborative industry internally, we tend to overlook competitive threats to ourselves from outside the
industry, as well as threats to the vendors in the supply chain on whom we depend—prepress houses, server hosts, printers, paper mills, distributors and various editorial and production services, for example. Will they be there tomorrow?
In this column, I explore the process of evaluating the supply chain further and present several examples of how break-out supply chain thinking led to business opportunity among the printing, publishing and retailing segments of the industry.
Managing complexity and objectives
“Each chain is really a series of buyers and sellers of products and services. That means that each link participant has his own objectives and sometimes conflicting objectives,” writes Thomas Craig, president of LTD Management (LTDMgmt.com)—a supply chain management consultancy—in the article “Logistics Process for Supply Chain Management” (World Wide Shipping, July/August 2002).
He suggests the supply chain can be thought of “as a relay race with good speed by each runner and a great handoff and exchange of baton between runners.”
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.