Supply-chain management has always been an integral part of the business world, but the Great Recession spurred significant changes designed to save time and money in the control and organization of supplies and inventory, particularly for manufacturers.
One example is vested outsourcing, a new kind of supply-chain management based on long-term partnerships.
These changes and how they can apply to local businesses are the subject of the fourth annual Northeast Supply Chain Management Summit set for Aug. 25 at Bryant University in Smithfield, organized by Banneker Industries Inc., headquartered in North Smithfield.
Organizers expect more than 200 people to attend the daylong event, which this year has a theme of The New Dynamic Business Basics. Banneker specializes in supply-chain management and has nine American locations, in New England, Indiana, California, Texas and Virginia.
Supply-chain management “is important at any time,” said Junior Jabbe, sales and marketing manager for Banneker, “but it is gaining prominence now because, as business declines, you have to look at other ways to protect the bottom line.”
The recession has led to a “dynamic shift” that created “a whole new world” of supply-chain management because “we are now operating in an unsure environment,” he said.
The new focus is aimed at cutting costs.
As they review operations, business owners are increasingly looking at ways to eliminate inefficiencies in supply chains. “You’ll notice that packaging for certain products has changed over the years,” Jabbe said, “and what people don’t realize is that a lot of those packaging changes have to do with reducing costs [through supply-chain management].”
Companies actually compete to establish the most efficient supply-chain operations, Jabbe said, and “those companies with the best supply chains are dominating their markets,” citing such major corporations as Dell, Apple, Procter & Gamble and IBM as examples.
Kate Vitasek, an author and professor at the University of Tennessee who is an expert in supply-chain management, will be the keynote speaker at the summit. She is one of the nation’s leading authorities on vested outsourcing, a phrase she helped coin as a result of research she and her colleagues have done at the Knoxville, Tenn., university’s Center for Executive Education.