Supply chain management (SCM) is no longer a mere support function – it can act as the engine of the company and generate significant value. More and more firms are experiencing the many benefits an end-to-end supply chain orientation can deliver: a higher service level, shorter lead times, increased revenues, and faster new-product introduction. However, many supply chain executives are still struggling to convey the value they create.
In an executive workshop at KLU, experts from industry and academia discussed potential approaches to resolving this dilemma. The participants were senior managers from leading players in manufacturing and the retail industry in Germany and Switzerland, including firms like Siemens, BASF, Vestas, Tchibo, and COOP. In his talk, KLU’s Professor Kai Hoberg highlighted the challenges that supply chain managers face when it comes to the positioning of their functions in the firms. Heads of supply chain management Daniel Weber (Beiersdorf) and Kurt Kim (Clariant) presented their successful approaches to convincing top management to pay more attention to SCM. Dr. Michael Mueller (CTcon) presented an overview on selecting the right performance metrics for the board.
In addition to the presentations and discussions, the 26 participants conducted breakout sessions supported by WHU (Otto Beisheim School of Management) professor Carl Marcus Wallenburg and CBS (Copenhagen Business School) professor Andreas Wieland. Both academics are part of a joint research group (with KLU and ETH Zurich) that analyses the financial impact of supply chain management. In these sessions, the participants identified and shared insights on perception and the right way to communicate.
The very positive feedback at the end of the workshop convinced the organizers of the merit of this meeting format. Hoberg said: “I believe that our SCM executive workshops are a great way to bring together top supply chain managers and academics so they can learn from each other. We are already planning the next workshop for spring 2015.”