New research hopes to improve production management

A new study by Michigan State University may define successful techniques for strategic sourcing to better supply chain optimization, according to The Association for Operations Management. The APICS Foundation is working with staff from MSU, including David Closs, department chair of supply chain management, to evaluate supply chain factors. MSU had the distinction of having the no. 1 ranked supply chain management program ahead of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to its site.

The study hopes to answer how a supply chain can become strategic by researching a company's business model, management and the relationship between its model and its supply chain.

"Supply chain optimization goes far beyond being better, faster and cheaper," Closs said. "We need to understand the factors that facilitate and inhibit the transformation of a supply chain from tactical to strategic."

The report titled, "Supply Chain Management: Beyond the Horizon" has the potential to change how global companies source their products and handle their supply chains.

"This major undertaking, in partnership with the team of esteemed educators and researchers from MSU as well as APICS members, will generate relevant, actionable insights that promise to advance the design and execution of supply chain operations going forward," said Sharon Rice, executive director of the APICS Foundation.

While researchers aim to change supply chain management for the future, another firm managed to illustrate a company's entire supply chain, according to Supply Chain Digest. LLamasoft recreated in a graphic that details expenses, distribution and network. Points show where its profitable customers are located and even maps out how long shipments take. The publication suggested it would be even more helpful to keep a frequently updated supply chain network to record changes.

"Of course, companies can drill down into many other areas of potential interest," Supply Chain Digest said. "But often a simple picture is a good place to start."

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