Supply Chain…where do I start? #supplychain #SCOR #bpm

A guest blog by Tom Molyneux:

Last week, Chris Taylor posted a great quick start guide to getting started with BPM.  This made me realize that many of the same challenges confront those tackling initial Supply Chain initiatives.  Good news…there is an even more-well worn road map that companies can follow to improve their chances of success and avoid the most common pitfalls of supply chain improvement initiatives.  I’ve tried to group these steps along the lines used in the original BPM post.

Get Started Now

Quick, low-cost wins can be found here:

  • Segregate suppliers and reduce their overall number
  • Inventory the enterprise for supply chain initiatives and aggregate these dispersed initiatives into a centralized supply chain group or center of excellence
  • Look at outbound freight for consolidation and rationalization – a logistics
    can often help reduce costs per mile of transportation and warehouse space

Adopt a Framework

After these quick wins companies typically start to go deeper into supply chain improvement.  They start thinking about process and get to the idea of a framework for supply chain improvement.  The most widely adopted by far is the SCOR (Supply Chain Operational Reference) model – with good reason.  This is a massive, peer-reviewed, cross-referenced database of standard supply chain processes, best practices, metrics, skills and human attributes.  Its power comes from its quality and its widespread use.  The model represents over fifteen years of focused and tested thinking about supply chain by the best and brightest minds in supply chain operations.  As such, it provides a common language for supply chain professionals both within the company and across the larger extended supply chain (“from cow to cone” and from “rock to ring”).


Once companies get serious about SCOR they should send teams to SCOR training – thus ensuring that companies that have seriously adopted SCOR soon have a cadre of professionals who speak the same supply chain language and use the same approach to supply chain improvement.  Make it sticky.


SCOR is a great framework and common language for supply chain improvement.  But it goes even further – in a way particularly fitting to this post.  It provides a methodology to run a first supply chain improvement project, unsurprisingly called a SCOR Project.  Take a standardized, proven approach on the organizational structure as well as the activities.  Better yet, use the sample tools and activities to select the appropriate, high value supply chain improvement process to tackle first.


Figure 1: Easy to follow process for running a SCOR project includes templates for all project artifacts right where they are needed

Implementation issues will show up when companies try to execute project management with PowerPoint and process management with Excel.  SCOR projects require process capture, improvement, management and deployment.  Having a BPM solution with built-in support for the SCOR Framework and SCOR Project can really get things off to a quick start and keep things on track.  You wouldn’t try to create a loan payment calculator with a BPM tool, so why would you capture, maintain and deploy processes with a spreadsheet?  Because a good BPM solution will tie directly into the powerful online SCOR database, it can save hundreds of hours of that administrative drudgery that bog down a project.  Initial process can be reused when supply chain processes are captured in a governed platform.

Make it easy

Figure 2: Having the SCOR model built directly into a BPM solution is a powerful and time saving combination. Direct links into the SCOR online database make it live.

Implementation of a SCOR Project is where we see companies start to struggle.  At the Supply Chain Council’s Global User Group Meeting in New York this past February, many voiced a desire for more support for SCOR Projects.  There is room to grow in improving the overall odds of project success.  While the SCC provides excellent classroom training as well as PowerPoint and Excel templates, they’ve chosen to be perhaps too software-agnostic.  The SCC membership includes so many software vendors like SAP, Adobe, Nimbus, IBM, Intuit and others for good reason. Make life easy.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, having the right BPM platform will allow you to deploy process changes to end users so that they are actually adopted.  And that’s where things really start to happen.


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Categories: Frameworks

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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3 Comments on “Supply Chain…where do I start? #supplychain #SCOR #bpm”

  1. Jayshree Ravi
    May 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    A great post. To add to this based on personal experience
    1. Start thinking about measuring your Supply Chain performance. SCOR has some standard metrics that you can use to benchmark yourself with similar organisations. You will be surprised that a simple metric like cash-to-cash cycle time or perfect order fulfilment cannot be measured because your systems lack the required data at the level of granularity.
    2. Involvement of senior management is a must. Otherwise the project never gains sufficient momentum to introduce a company-wide acceptance.
    3. Aligning the supply chain strategy with corporate strategy should be a priority.

    Good Luck

  2. scm
    June 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    I believe software system is not necessary during implementation of SCOR Model. Company can choose to conduct process audit based on SCOR level 3 process. Level 4 process can be mapped as numerical process steps in spreadsheet. The important point in SCOR implementation is that all staffs should try to speak out and provide necessary feedback to project team.

    • September 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

      I think BPR/BPM software help accelerating business process redesign. This means implementation time and cost can be lowered.

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