A changing landscape
It’s the Wizard of Oz, just in reverse.That is how some are describing the new normal. In one of themany iconic scenes, Dorothy is seen living in shades of gray untilshe opens the door to Oz and steps into its Technicolor splendor. Inthe world of supply chain professionals, we are stepping back outof the sharp contrasts and into a more subtly shaded world, onewith less distinct landmarks to lead the way.
The world is becoming more complex.Planning cycles are shrinking ascompetitive pressures are forcingmanufacturers to introduce new productsquicker. Customer expectations haveforced operations to move from massproduction to masscustomization ofgoods and services.Once-agreed-uponbusiness assumptionsare being questionedand doubted. Globalvolatility is matchedwith domestic
growth opportunitiesare hard to quantifyand visualize. Marketresearch data used to
set the strategic direction of a rm can be
ambiguous and subject to interpretation.The term “new normal” is being usedto describe this emerging businessenvironment. The new normal has alsocreated fundamental shifts in logisticsand transportation management. The
pressure to be more exible — the rsteffect of the new normal environment —
is the necessity of being able to adjust orrespond to change quickly. Volatility ofdemand, coupled with the unexpectedevents that occur on an ongoing basis
in supply chain ows,
to be exible. The
companies that willprosper in the newlandscape will bethose that have thecapability to capitalizeon change when otherssimply cannot reactor alter their actions
fast enough. Flexibility
is the remedy whenuncertainty exists.
As we all know, however, exibility is
not enough to succeed in the currentenvironment. The pressure to be more
efcient — the second effect of the newenvironment — has never been greater,
and any potential investment must passadditional levels of scrutiny as credit is
There is a movetoward moresophisticated toolsand techniques tomanage logisticsand transportationactivities.