Do you agree that the term "Supply Chain" is obsolete?
A "chain" is a misleading term and undersells the complexity of what we do. http://bit.ly/2hIF0hV
Time for a new term - do you agree?
Not at all. Yes I agree it's changing and has a meaning involving so much more - however with a substantial amount of terminology and entirely too many different "titles" already in the market why create more for the average non supply related person to try and understand?
I recall reading something many years ago that was written in the 1950's, it took the premis that no one person knows how to make a pencil. A product that would appear to be very straight forward, but consider that to make a pencil, you need someone who knows how to grow a tree, to grow that tree you need a fertilizer manufacturer, to cut down the tree you need some who knows how to make a chain saw, to move the tree you need a truck driver, truck manufacturer, trains, ships!!! and we are still only on the wood, we've got the graphite and paint paths to follow yet.
The complexity of the supply chain has been recognised for a long time, and when I first got into the SCM scene in the early naughties, large companies like Ford, Walmart and Dell were begining to review the levels above their direct suppliers and take control of their supply chains. But this was complex and costly. Good SCM practitioners have always looked at the level above to see if there was a way to cut out the middle man. Buying groupd have been around forever and multiple supply paths aren't new either.
The major difference today is that more expansive visualisation and management of the supply chain has become more viable through more powerful computers, increased connectivity and reduced cost of transportation. In a way, the chain anaology is still meaningful. If you were to connect many chains, you would eventually hit a limit where the physical connections could no longer be made or the chain woudl be come too cumbersome. Then a new technology would come along and allow the connections to be made a new way, or a new smaller lighter material can be used. Maybe I'm just set in my ways, but supply chain still works for me.
I think we need to understand why we call it a chain? Not link, not line, but chain? Because it represent a set of circles, a set of subsystems, a set of input - process - output. As long as the terms of system exist in business world, the term Supply Chain won't disappear. However, the name of the set of subsystems of supply might be changed. For example, block chain.