This is “The Benefits and the Risks of Participating in a Supply Chain”, section 11.3 from the book Modern Management of Small Businesses (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.
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For any small business, a commitment to developing a supply chain management system is not a small undertaking. It involves the commitment of significant financial resources for the acquisition of appropriate software. Policies and procedures must be changed in accordance with the needs of the new system. Personnel must be trained in not only using the new software but also adapting to new ways of doing business. Small businesses accept these challenges of adopting supply chain management systems because such systems are viewed as being important for long-term survival and because businesses anticipate substantial management and economic benefits.
The management benefits of supply chain management system include the following:
The major risks associated with a supply chain management system fall into two categories: technical and managerial.
Michael Porter’s five forces model is a model of the major factors that contribute to an industry’s overall structure. It also points to factors that might affect the overall profitability of the particular business within that industry. The greater the strength of these forces, the greater the challenge to make above average return profits for businesses in that industry. It is useful to review two of those forces—the power of suppliers and the power of buyers—and reexamine how they might influence the profitability of any business in the supply chain.
Porter identifies the following factors that might contribute to the overall strength of each force. He argued that suppliers are powerful (see Figure 11.3 "The Core Elements of a Supply Chain Management System") when the following occurs:
Problems may also arise from a heavier reliance on one customer in the supply chain. Even large companies need to be aware of their relative strength in the supply chain. Rubbermaid is the most admired corporation in America, as voted by Fortune magazine in 1993 and 1994, yet it had significant difficulties when dealing with one of its major customers—Walmart. In the early 1990s, Rubbermaid found that the cost for a key ingredient—resin—had increased by 80 percent.Mary Ethridge, “News about the Wal-Mart Struggle,” accessed February 2, 2012, www.dsausa.org/lowwage/walmart/Dec17_03.html. Walmart’s almost total focus on lowering its prices led it to drop many of Rubbermaid’s products. This began a downward spiral for Rubbermaid, which led to its acquisition by Newell Inc. Rubbermaid went from the status of the most admired corporation to being a basket case because it failed to recognize its excessive dependence on one customer.
The Benefits of Supply Chain Management
A list of benefits from SAP, a software company.
The Risks of Supply Chain Management
A Forbes article on the risks associated with supply chain management.
Risk and Rewards in Supply Chain Management
A Harvard working paper.