We the Supply Chain

The sixth annual AMR Supply Chain Top 25 report has just been released and it has me thinking about the role that BookNet Canada plays in the publishing industry trying to raise awareness of the supply chain discipline and how it impacts business.

There is a lot to digest in this report but certainly it comes as no surprise that Apple has held onto the #1 position for the third year in a row. Apple’s success is attributed to its ability to consistently bring both operational excellence and innovation excellence to bear in some of the most competitive markets in the world. Furthermore, Apple has broken new ground in transforming a supply chain into a value chain by starting with the consumer experience and designing its network to serve that master first and foremost.

Recommendations:

  • Apply demand-driven principles to coordinate and integrate the functional areas of supply, demand and product management in order to better sense, shape and respond to changes in market demand.
  • Take a cue from the leaders when designing your own supply chain strategy. Think outside in, starting with your customers and working back through your trading-partner network to design a profitable response. Remember that one size does not fit all. Define how many supply chain types you have and design a customized response for each.
  • Balance operational excellence with innovation excellence for superior overall performance.
  • Focus on acquiring, mentoring, growing, and retaining supply chain talent.
  • Measure your supply chain as your customer experiences it. Use the right supply chain and product metrics to consciously manage performance, and foster a culture that embraces measurement for continuous improvement.

Just in these points alone I think there is a lot for publishing to take away, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out how the projects we work on everyday at BookNet can help you build toward the same kind of excellence as Apple.

BiblioShare:

Yes ONIX is a standard but it isn’t very valuable if companies don’t use it in a standard way. We often bemoan the fact that certifying publisher’s metadata doesn’t imply good data. So BiblioShare helps us get more consistent about validation and allows us to be as strict as we want to be about letting the data flow. Now we need to convince the industry that this is a good thing, and it is. It will help you to “to coordinate and integrate the functional areas of supply, demand and product management in order to better sense, shape and respond to changes in market demand.”

Pubfight and Interns:

With Pubfight (hey, who’s ready for next season?) and our intern program we meet a slew of young creative minds who have the energy our industry needs for transformation and we can provide them with a better informed picture of the supply chain so then the industry can have a “focus on acquiring, mentoring, growing and retaining supply chain talent”.

CataList:

Our digital catalogue project should help publishers better serve their retail customers which in effect will serve the reader better. I say should because there is a tendency to want to hold out on features that are too “retail” oriented and this is our cross to bear, to try to get to a solution that “think(s) outside in, that remembers that one size does not fit all. That defines how many supply chain types we have and design a customized response for each.”

Salesdata and Prospector:

Well this is a no-brainer. Transparency of the marketplace or “using the right supply chain and product metrics to consciously manage performance, and foster a culture that embraces measurement for continuous improvement.”