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Pieter Steyn, principal at Cranefield College of Project and Programme Management, says research indicates that most organizations agree on the importance and potential benefits of supply chain management but they struggle when they seek to evolve from theory to implementation.
"Managing cross-organizational processes, as required by the modern supply chain approach, is a serious challenge, particularly as most organizations still struggle with internal process management. Consequently, organizations need to manage their internal processes properly before venturing into the cross-organizational level," says Steyn.
He says the extended functions of the supply chain stretch the processes at either end, representing a virtual network of partners. Demand and supply collaboration between partners necessitates that the whole supply chain reacts quickly to any changes and capitalizes on its ability to fulfill demand optimally.
"Researchers and practitioners agree that organizations that fail to increase their flexibility and agility will lose their status as preferred suppliers. When managers attempt to implement business processes they tend to focus only on structure. However, researchers have found that these efforts have a high failure rate because the right behaviors are not encouraged," added Steyn.
Kate Stubbs, executive of marketing at Barloworld Logistics, says most South African companies are only too aware that they can use their supply chains as strategic tools to drive competitive advantage.
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