As noted in the first edition, when you give a book a title like Supply
Chain Management Best Practices, there’s not much mystery in what it’s
going to be about. Throughout its 18 chapters, this book will identify some
of the best supply chains in the world, describe in detail what it means to
have a “best-in-class” supply chain, and offer suggestions—in the form of
best practices—on how to build a world-class supply chain.
This book is largely told through the experiences of supply chain practitioners
and experts. The companies and the people referred to in this book
are real, as are their accomplishments (and, in some cases, their failures).
What sets this book apart from other supply chain books is that I have
taken a journalist’s approach to the subject rather than an academic’s or a
consultant’s. As the editorial director of Penton Media’s supply chain group
of publications, I’ve had access to supply chain professionals at companies
of all sizes, in dozens of different industries. So in writing this book, I have
set out to tell the story of supply chain management through the eyes of
the people who know it best.
In the United States alone, companies spend more than $1 trillion every
year on transportation, warehousing, distribution, and associated inventory
management. The responsibility for managing that spending falls squarely
on the shoulders of supply chain professionals. Their roles may differ from
company to company, but their goals are generally the same: develop and
position their companies’ supply chains so that they can compete and win
in today’s global marketplace. Many of these professionals work for companies
that consider supply chain management and its many subdivisions
(e.g., planning, purchasing, logistics, trade management) as little more than
necessary evils and cost centers. Yet it’s an inescapable fact that many of
the biggest and best-run companies got to where they are thanks to their
adoption of best practices to manage their world-class supply chains.