Strategic Supply Management: Creating the Next Source of Competitive Advantage


By Robert Trent, Ph.D.


The popular press is loaded with stories about supply problems affecting many industries. Extensive outsourcing of major portions of a firm’s value chain, relentless pressure from customers to improve product and service functionality and to reduce costs across almost every industry, and steep global competition have combined to create a search for new sources of competitive advantage. This search has led to supply management, the management of suppliers, and improved supply base relationships to become hot topics in the boardrooms of many organizations.

This book presents a roadmap and understanding of what it really means to practice strategic supply management. No longer a transactional activity, supply management is about creating and sustaining new sources of competitive advantage. Dr. Trent articulates how to create a supply management organization that you can count on to deliver reliable sources of supply and, eventually, competitive advantage. He purposely presents a holistic approach that focuses on breadth rather than depth so that readers can see how the different elements that comprise strategic supply management come together to create a hard-to-duplicate source of competitive advantage. Strategic Supply Management presents, in a concise manner, the need for supply leadership, the organizational enablers that must be in place, and the strategies and approaches that leading organizations pursue to achieve advantages in price and cost, quality, cycle time, technology, flexibility, and end customer responsiveness.

This is a must read for any procurement or supply management professional; finance, operations, and engineering functional managers; executives who interact on a regular basis with supply management professionals; and academics and students.


Key Features

  • Summarizes what a leading supply management organization looks like today, completely defines strategic supply management, and provides a clear understanding of the leadership required to achieve a set of demanding supply objectives
  • Explains the four critical enablers underlying strategic supply management—organizational design, measurement, information technology, and human resources—which are prerequisites to the pursuit of more sophisticated supply management activities
  • Discusses how to develop supply strategies and presents the leading-edge supply approaches and strategies that can lead to sustained competitive advantage
  • Presents information about specific concepts, processes, best practices, tools, and real company examples in each chapter and includes end-of-chapter questions to help facilitate discussion and learning


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 — Understanding Strategic Supply Management
Chapter 2 — Recognizing the Importance of Supply Leadership
Chapter 3 — Creating the Right Supply Organization
Chapter 4 — Measuring Across the Supply Network
Chapter 5 — Using Information Technology to Support Supply Objectives
Chapter 6 — Managing the Human Side of Supply Management
Chapter 7 — Matching Supply Strategies to Supply Needs
Chapter 8 — Contracting for the Longer Term
Chapter 9 — Outsourcing for Competitive Advantage
Chapter 10 — Building a World-Class Supply Base
Chapter 11 — Managing Supplier Performance and Relationships
Chapter 12 — Managing Costs Strategically
Chapter 13 — Involving Suppliers Early
Chapter 14 — Sourcing Globally
Chapter 15 — Creating New Value through Supply Alliances
Chapter 16 — Looking Toward the Future