Friday, July 10, 2009

Supply Chain News - Cool Tool

In my last blog entry I bemoaned my inability to figure out how to aggregate business news stories that were specific to supply chain issues. As I was comparing results from Bing (Microsoft's new search engine which is much better than I expected), Google , and Yahoo I ran across a news article from I may be one of the last to discover it but the website was able to provide references to a number of articles that were relevant and did not appear in traditional searches.

The site has a number of topics from drop down lists. While I couldn't find supply chain management in the topic areas when I performed an initial search it suggested supply chain, supply chain management, and Supply Chain Logistics Corporation. When I searched on the one of the "keyphrases" I was presented with a pretty decent collection of current and relevant news.

If you are a student, an investor, or a manager this site might be very interesting to explore - I will.

From the site:

Silobreaker is an online search service for news and current events that delivers meaning and relevance beyond traditional search and aggregation engines. Its relational analysis and explanatory graphics provide users with unparalleled contextual insight into the news stories of the day.

More than a news aggregator, Silobreaker provides relevance by looking at the data it finds like a person does. It recognises people, companies, topics, places and keywords; understands how they relate to each other in the news flow, and puts them in context for the user. The graphical search results enables users to quickly and easily understand connections, trends and topics or navigate deeper into the most relevant stories for them. No other news search service provides such an extensive suite of contextual tools in the industry today.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Supply Chain / Value Chain New Sources

Where do you go for supply chain related business news? I am not talking about "news" stories about the technology of supply chain management. I am referring to the business cases and reports that relate to how a company's performance has been effected by supply chain issues. If I want to know how Boeing's 787 Dreamliner supply chain concerns are driving their business forecast or how it may have impacted their purchase of Vought's production capability in North Carolina, I almost have to know about it before I start my research.

Why do I want to be able to search this way? There are two reasons. First, almost ten years ago (2000) Vinod Singhai at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Kevin Hendricks at the University of Western Ontario published findings that a reports of a supply chain malfunction led to the decline of a company's stock by 9-20%. From a purely selfish perspective, this could be an intriguing factor in an investment strategy. Second, reports like Businessweek's Li & Fung: A Factory Sourcer Shines can identify best practices and show how those practices can lead to improved performance. (It may also identify companies, like Liz Claiborne,Toys 'R' Us, and Timberland, that may have significant supply chain risk).

I am certainly not a search expert but sometimes that might be a good thing. In my search for an aggregator of business news that reports supply chain issues I found a beta site for Business Week magazine (I am a subscriber but you don't need to be to access the site) that discusses supply chain topics (not strictly supply chain technology and processes). I also ran across a really intriguing business aggregator called Streetread (but it appears that you can only aggregate news by company - not topic.

So far, my most successful searches have been performed by assembling a search string (business news supply chain) specifying the day and then ignoring any supply chain specific domain. Best sources have been BusinessWeek, Reuters, CNNMoney (Fortune), and IndustryWeek.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Link Correction and Apologies

APQC was kind enough to let me know that my link to their site (favorite websites - not the survey lists) was broken. It has been updated. As a result, I am currently reviewing and updating all of the links and info on the blog. I will also be revisiting the benchmark and survey lists.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Return to the Blogosphere and Supply Chain Survey Update

Supply Chain / Value Chain Research - An Update and "Last Call"

(Since there is some reason to believe that this research will be long-term and an evolving measure of practice and performance, this might not be the last call for responses - just the last call for this instrument). As many of you already know, the survey builds on Dr. Sanjay Menon's delphi study of a few years ago. This update will provide a foundation for further research.

I reminded you in my last entry that with you can begin the survey, leave the site, and then return to complete it without starting all over again. I should have also mentioned that for those of you who leave an incompleted survey (and forget to return), the incompleted survey can skew the numbers when analyzed during the peer review process. (So please, if you have not yet finished your survey, please log in and complete it).

For those of you who have not yet started your response, we would be pleased to include your response if you can complete it in the next several days. We particularly welcome practitioner input. If you are just now discovering the survey you can read the announcement of its launch here. And if the links don't work you can paste the link to your web browser. (

Thanks again to everyone who is collaborating in this research.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Supply Chain / Value Chain Research - An Update

I wanted to send a word of thanks to those of you who have participated in the Supply Chain/Value Chain survey so far. With well over 100 respondents in the first few days we are in the process of making the first analytical pass of the data. The speed with which you have responded has been gratifying, particularly given the business demands associated with the holiday season and the end of the year.

A special thanks to the Value Chain Group for helping get the word out on the survey.

For those of you who started but then had to interrupt your survey, we will be looking at completed surveys again on December 12 so if you can complete your entry by then, your response will be included in the initial analysis. (As you know, with you can begin the survey, leave the site, and then return to complete it without starting all over again). For those of you who have not yet started your response, the good news is that our initial estimate of approximately 20-25 minutes to complete the survey has been confirmed by a number of respondents.

If you are just now discovering the survey you can read the announcement of its launch here. And if the links don't work you can paste the link to your web browser. (

Thanks again to everyone who is collaborating in this research.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Supply Chain Research - An Addendum

Yesterday I asked for your participation in some value chain / supply chain research that I am conducting with Dr. Sanjay Menon of Louisiana State University - Shreveport. I failed to let you know that unlike some research cycles that take weeks and months, this research is designed to move at the speed of business. Fast.

The first review cycle of data will take place within a matter of days. While the current plan is to let the survey evolve in scope and breadth, the significance and direction of the continuing research will be shaped by the early respondents.

So, in the next 20 minutes, you may help guide research that will be important to businesses in multiple industries, executives in multiple disciplines, and organizations in multiple geographies.

If you are a supply chain or value chain practitioner, a consultant, a technology provider, or an academician your participation in the research is welcome here. (

Friday, November 28, 2008

Supply Chain Survey Research

A short while ago, I was flattered to be approacahed by Sanjay Menon, PhD, Lousisiana State University - Shreveport who was interested in continuing the supply chain research he began a few years ago. His original research used an expert panel (Delphi) to frame some basic questions regarding supply chain management - including developing a snapshot of best practices and basic management trends.

Dr. Menon is revisiting his research questions (with limited assistance from me) and expanding them to include: 1) how different people perceive supply chains and value chains, 2) how supply chain considerations drive human resource practices, 3) how organizations address performance measurement (KPIs) and who is responsible for those measurements, and 4) what the perceived state of the art in supply chain management today.

Unlike many surveys I have seen and participated in, this survey was designed to answer some very basic questions and can be completed by almost anyone in about 20 minutes. (I don't know is a valid answer for most questions). The results of the survey are intended to be published in academic, peer-reviewed publications. There are no sales or marketing efforts associated with the survey and you are invited to participate.

For the friends and colleagues I made during my tenure as the Chief Technology Officer of the Supply Chain Council, I encourage you to participate in the survey to help to frame answers for questions we have been asking since the 1990s. For those of you who are seasoned in value chain and supply chain practice, I would ask you to contribute your knowledge to help understand how to link management practice and measurement to the managers and exectuves who are responsible for their planning and execution.

What is your reward for participating in the survey? Your anonymity will be protected. You will not be put on a never-ending mailing list. You will receive a summary of the findings and there may be an opportunity for you to participate in additional research.

Thanks and the link to the survey is here.