Understanding Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities: A Systems Thinking Approach
Posted on 2nd October 2022 at 14:39
Companies all over the world faced and are facing numerous challenges such as driver shortages, COVID-19, logistics provider capacity issues, BREXIT, shipping delays, increased freight costs, shortages. Martin Christopher, Emeritus Professor of Marketing & Logistics , was one of the first to recognise that the real competition is between supply chains not companies, and in the same vein the solution of the above challenges stems by taking a holistic approach of the supply chain system. But what is it a system?
“A system is a whole consisting of two or more parts (1) each of which can affect the performance or properties of the whole, (2) none of which can have an independent effect on the whole, and (3) no subgroup of which can have an independent effect on the whole. In brief, then, a system is a whole that cannot be divided into independent parts or subgroups of parts” (Ackoff 1994, p. 175).
If you look at the way problems get solved in the supply chain, not all companies are successful as they could be; the reason behind this inefficiency is that companies are concentrating only on what they are interfacing, the next in line, they are not taking into account the whole.
Here at UK-Centric Supply Chains we can help you getting to the root cause of a problem, not treating the symptom, but fixing the cause first by getting to the root cause. A systems approach supports you as a company to have an understand of the interrelationships between issues and understanding how certain issues can cascade into others.
There are various benefits of the systems thinking:
Identify and solve “problems that never seem to go away”.
Discover new business opportunities
Create a vision of the future
Understand the human factors challenges associated with change.
And finally, re-design broken supply chain systems and/or design new supply chain systems.
Author: Dr Dimitra Kalaitzi
Dimitra Kalaitzi is an early career researcher, and her main research area is on supply chain (re-) configuration and product (re-) configuration in order to handle the issue of natural resource scarcity/sustainability and achieve resource efficiency.
To find out more about how UK-Centric Supply Chains can help your business, why not get in contact with us today?
Ackoff RL (1994) Systems thinking and thinking systems. Syst Dyn Rev 10:175–188
Share this post: