Global Supply Chain Forum to reach six continents in 2007

Douglas Lambert, director of the Global Supply Chain Forum, is on a quest to make sure everyone in the corporate world realizes that supply chain management involves every function in the organization.

With the help of Fisher researchers and top corporate executives, Lambert, the Raymond E. Mason Chair in Transportation and Logistics, is leading a global charge to implement a model that stresses relationship management and the implementation of eight cross-functional business processes.

Douglas LambertLast year, the forum, through Fisher’s Executive Education program, made its international debut with week-long seminars in England and Argentina. Yet, Lambert said 2007 is the year his strategy will truly go worldwide. Beginning this year, the forum will reach every continent except Antarctica. It will expand onto the campuses of universities in China, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The forum’s strategy presents supply chain management as a relationship managing tool that links teams from corporations that do business with one another. The week-long, open-enrollment sessions are taught by Fisher researchers. The programs are designed by the researchers based on a book that represents the combined knowledge of forum members and the research team.

The forum’s perspective has been sculpted from research work with its 15 member corporations, a group that includes 3M, Coca-Cola, Cargill, Colgate-Palmolive, Hallmark, Hewlett-Packard, International Paper, Limited Brands and Wendy’s International. Each company provides two vice president-level representatives to share leading-edge practices and set the course for new research initiatives.

“There is clearly an interest in the Global Supply Chain Forum model and we’re excited to take this message around the world and change the way top management views supply chain management,” Lambert said.

The seminars are designed specifically for executives interested competing through the management of relationships and the integration of efforts across business functions. This includes customer and supplier relationship management, new product development and demand management.

At the core of this business model is a network-view focused on aligning resources from the end user all the way to the original suppliers. Lambert quotes a forum member, Tom Blackstock, vice-president of Supply Cain Operations for Coca-Cola North America, who said: “Supply Chain Management is Everybody’s Job.” Lambert said, “It’s important in these relationships that communication takes place across all corporate functions."

“These relationships are critical to each company’s success and no matter how good those two people are you don’t want a salesperson talking to a buyer and making a decision solely based on price,” he said. “If I’m the president of a company, I want my research and development team talking to my suppliers’ research and development team as well as to key customers. They're all important to my success and can help develop new products.”

The textbook inspired from the forum’s research, “Supply Chain Management: Processes, Partnerships, Performance,” is nearing the completion of its third edition and is currently being translated into Spanish and Chinese languages.

Lambert and his colleagues at Fisher are also busy helping the forum members apply and implement the forum research in their companies, which is part of the global mission.

“If there was genius in this, it is that if you pick the right people to participate in the forum and listen to them, they are going to lead you in the right way in terms of the research,” Lambert said. “I think that we have benefited from our involvement with these executives who in many ways have been our co-researchers.”

More information on Fisher’s Executive Education Supply Chain Management Program is available online at