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A 21st Century Model for Supply Chain Management

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Jack Buffington

Analysis  •

The “Supply Chain Operations Reference,” or SCOR model that has been used for the past two decades, has been a useful diagnostic tool to understand the effectiveness of a company within a supply chain system. Companies, trade associations, and supply chain programs have used it effectively to integrate processes through the pillars of Plan, Source, Make, Deliver, Return, and Enable through three layers of analysis. As a structured methodology, SCOR is very effective, but limits the role of supply chain management to a tactical role within the business model versus a strategic one.

In the past two decades, supply chains have become enablers to company strategies and critical to solving the greatest challenges that businesses and societies face. This is why the University of Denver has developed a unique SCM model that is different from SCOR. DU’s six pillars of SCM (Design, Source, Plan, Make, Deliver, Sustain) are similar to the SCOR model but different in that it enables the supply chain system to be a key strategic element of a business model versus only being in a tactical support role.

As we know through some of the most innovative companies today such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, Tesla, and Apple, supply chains will make or break the overall business strategy so it must become a strategic determinant of it. Likewise, supply chain systems, if empowered to become strategic, can solve some of the greatest problems facing business and society, such as environmental degradation, urban poverty, and the healthcare crisis, if allowed to do so. At the University of Denver, we believe that it is time for Supply Chain Management to come from out of the shadows and lead, and our approach will train students to become the problem solvers required to transform.