Winter Reading Guide 2017

Tags: Inventory Management, Education & Careers, Supply Chain Management, Legislation, Public Policy, and Regulations, Transportation, Logistics, Technology , Big Data, Supply Chain

Don't let winter put a deep freeze on your logistics learning. Keep your knowledge evergreen by cozying up to books on wide-ranging topics, from food logistics to procurement practices.

Supply Chain Risk Management—An Emerging Discipline

By Gregory L. Schlegel & Robert J. Trent

Various 21st century phenomena have added new dimensions of risk to the supply chain—the ubiquity of social media and the Internet; retailers' temptation to over-rely on technology, become overconfident and overpromise delivery times; and gaining acceptance for supply chain risk management from the bean counters. This book identifies and analyzes the root causes of these issues, and offers constructive solutions.

Highlights: Risk is a constant in business. Its steady expansion places new emphasis on the importance of risk management in a company's overall supply chain operations. "Strategic" risk—that which can affect an organization as a whole—is one of the most crucial types of risk to be reduced.

Quick Takeaway: Asset protection is one example of minimizing strategic risk, especially guarding intellectual property.

The Second Machine Age—Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

By Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

The authors outline how ongoing sophistication of digital technologies will usher in productivity changes as significant as the industrial revolution. But, they warn, these technologies must be ethically managed to "maximize the bounty while mitigating the spread"—the gap between the rich and the poor.

Highlights: While making the world smaller and ever more connected, technology also has the potential to exacerbate or reduce inequality, depending on how it's used. A world where everyone prospers is also one that is more profitable.

Quick Takeaway: In prioritizing human labor over machines, the authors propose a "made by humans" label on goods or to "award credits to companies that employ humans, like the carbon offsets that can now be purchased."

Faster Cheaper Better—The 9 Levers for Transforming How Work Gets Done

By Michael Hammer and Lisa W. Hershman

"Continuous improvement" is a touchstone of contemporary managerial thinking. The authors take this idea further by advocating for "process engineering." They describe nine levers that, if executed properly, will allow an organization to overcome its inbred obstacles and achieve "breakthrough performance" in all operations—product development, demand creation, order fulfillment and supply chain management.

Highlights: This book articulates concepts that are vitally important. In fact, the first three words of the title were the motto NASA used during the 1990s as its operative philosophy in achieving more frequent and more successful space flights.

Quick Takeaway: It's important to organize a company so that employees are encouraged to think holistically. Everyone should be familiar with the company's total processes and think creatively, rather than narrowly.

The Six Sigma Fieldbook

By Mikel Harry, PhD

This absorbing case study charts the progress of the DuPont Company as it sought to enter new fields and employed the Six Sigma strategy to monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of its transition. Virtually any industry or field, including supply chain management, can replicate the Six Sigma method.

Highlights: The final chapter, The Science of Value Creation, dispels myths about Six Sigma, and illustrates a four-phase takeaway that can prove helpful to supply chain managers.

Quick Takeaway: Six Sigma is based on the premise that the improvement of a product or service is an ongoing, never-ending task that, over time, will continue to yield additional benefits to the company that implements it.

Global Integrated Supply Chain Management

By Yi-chen Lan and Bhuvan Unhelkar et. al., University of Western Sydney, Australia

This book is a collection of contributed academic essays that addresses the topic of global supply chains that are integrated by use of the Internet and other telecommunication methods. Various chapters focus on subtopics, such as supply chain management in specific countries, and how a supply chain that is "e-linked" can be continuously evaluated and improved.

Highlights: Chapter 27, Enabling the Glass Pipeline, is especially valuable. It discusses how mobile technology is becoming an ever-important tool in supply chain management.

Quick Takeaway: ICT (Internet and Communication Technologies) provides excellent opportunities to integrate the supply and customer side of business processes, and supply chains stand to benefit most from this integration.

Fueling the Online Trade Revolution: A New Customs Security Framework to Secure and Facilitate Small Business E-Commerce

By Kati Suominen for the Center for Strategic and International Studies

The 21st century has seen the exponential rise of online commerce, which can require shipment almost anywhere, and the heightened need for strong border security in a post 9/11 world. This essential handbook provides a concise reference tool for accommodating the former without compromising the latter.

Highlights: The book offers a helpful primer on customs security protocols for all US shippers and how these protocols will continue to evolve to accommodate international trade in the future.

Quick Takeaway: By enabling U.S. companies to export to a vaster market and U.S. consumers to access a wider variety of products at the lowest cost, digital trade enhances our productivity, economic growth and job creation.

Improving Ship Operational Design Through Teamwork

By The Nautical Institute

A supply chain can consist of any mode of transportation, such as ships. The efficiency, safety, and survivability of an ocean going vessel affects the overall success of the supply chain. Seasoned nautical experts wrote this book to promote and encourage quality ship design from naval architects.

Highlights: Comprehensive yet concise, this book provides informative background for supply chain professionals interested in learning new nautical terminology and procedures.

Quick Takeaway: The authors urge naval architects to consider various human factors, including ergonomics and "human centered" design—a multidisciplinary concept that prioritizes features in a way that maximizes human comfort and efficiency.

Negotiation for Procurement Professionals

By Jonathan O'Brien

The supply chain begins when a product or service is purchased. This book is unusual in that it's a negotiation manual aimed not at the seller, but the buyer. It covers a wide range of negotiating techniques—the role of power, personality, cultural differences, and even game theory.

Highlights: The benefits of effective negotiation, obtaining the lowest possible price and the greatest possible value, is where the supply chain originates, and is the foundation on which an organization's cost structure is built.

Quick Takeaway: Almost every principle the book covers is also illustrated by a table, chart, or graph. This is especially useful when dealing with abstract topics, such as personality and cultural analysis.

Strategic Supply Chain Management: The Five Disciplines for Top Performance

By Shoshanah Cohen and Joseph Roussel

An exceptionally well-organized guide to success built around a series of symposia at major universities, this book articulates five essentials for success that professionals at any point along the supply chain can use. The authors encourage designing an organization that is collaborative, has short lines of communication, and works to continually improve itself.

Highlights: This book is about individual employees as much as their organization. It provides ideas for staff development, organizational "architecture" and the effective use of metrics.

Quick Takeaway: The case study on how General Motors reinvented itself illustrates how transformative thoughtful organizational change can be.

Applications of Supply Chain Management and E-Commerce Research

By Joseph Geunes, et. al.

This book provides a series of applications and case studies, each of which utilizes best practices for supply chain management and e-commerce. The strategies presented are the result of multi-disciplinary research at the University of Florida working with industry leaders

Highlights: Chapter 7 tackles the issue of trust in electronic commerce and offers advice on dealing with automated reputation systems to bridge the resulting "trust gap."

Quick Takeaway: Companies traditionally have built trust through interpersonal relationships developed in the brick-and-mortar world. Replicating these relationships in the world of e-commerce will become increasingly imperative as more transactions move online.

Supply Chain Optimization: Product/Process Design, Facility Location and Flow Control

By Alexandre Dolgui, Jerzy Soldek, Oleg Zaikin

This volume is a collection of highly technical essays on modeling, optimizing, and implementing several advanced supply chain concepts, including predicting consumer behavior, minimizing costs for a single location manufacturer, and advanced supply chain design. This is an excellent resource to use in a business/university partnership.

Highlights: Due to its technical nature, this book is aimed at supply chain management experts, and should be included on the shelf of an organization's senior logistics manager.

Quick Takeaway: Chapter 14 is the most interdisciplinary. It involves coordinating plans for sales with inventory management and operational resources. Included are mathematical models that seek to optimize this balance.

Extending the Supply Chain: How Cutting-Edge Companies Bridge the Critical Last Mile into Customers' Homes

By Kenneth Boyer, Markham T. Frohlich, G. Tomas Hult

This book is a direct response to the euphoria that surrounded the early days of the Internet. Most early e-commerce players understood the technology of the web, but not the new distribution challenges. The authors argue that home delivery of consumer goods, popular during the 1950s, can be revived by coupling technology with the proper distribution systems.

Highlights: The authors believe direct-to-consumer distribution is the wave of the future, and cite Dell, Office Depot, and Amazon as examples. Innovative companies can emulate their success.

Quick Takeaway: Chapter 8 is central to the book's theme, and discusses alternatives to order picking and delivery that maximize efficiency while providing a higher level of customer convenience.

Supply Chain Strategies: Customer-Driven and Customer-Focused

By Tony Hines

Originally written as a college textbook, this title provides a comprehensive summary of all aspects of supply chain management (including the meaning of the name itself) with an eye toward its terminus—the customer. The book includes information on how to operate a supply chain efficiently and profitably. While aimed at the supply chain novice, this book also serves as a refresher for the seasoned pro, while offering new information on globalization and e-business strategies.

Highlights: The description of globalization and its political underpinnings is especially noteworthy.

Quick Takeaway: The nature of supply chains in most industries is that they may be both global and local. Supplies are sourced from a variety of worldwide locations to meet demands of consumers who may be located locally or globally.

Managing the Supply Chain: The Definitive Guide for the Business Professional

By David Simchi-Levi, Philip Kaminsky, Edith Simchi-Levi

This book starts as an introduction to supply chain management, then discusses new problems and concerns in the supply chain world brought on by events such as the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.

Highlights: The book's forward-looking content, such as the presentation of the "pull based" concept, introduces new ideas to the reader who may be several years removed from school.

Quick Takeaway: The book features two chapters on information—its value and its utilization. With technology evolving at breakneck speed, this material is especially valuable.

The Supply Chain Imperative

By Dale Neef

This insightful book makes the case that American companies involved in overseas manufacturing—either directly or through third parties—have both a legal and ethical obligation to eliminate exploitation of foreign workers and avoid environmental damage. The book outlines how to manage supply chains toward achieving these goals.

Highlights: The prevailing view, at home and abroad, is that exploiting workers or harming the environment are unacceptable in modern society. Managers who value their company's public reputation will want to keep abreast of this important issue.

Quick Takeaway: The handy sample checklists in the appendices offer readers a guide to introducing accountability in their own organizations.

Lean and Technology: Working Hand in Hand to Enable and Energize Your Global Supply Chain

By Paul Myerson

While lean has traditionally been considered a "pen and pencil" technique to identify and eliminate waste in business processes, this book makes the case that technology is, in fact, a key enabler of a lean supply chain and links lean thinking with available and affordable systems and technologies to get the most out of improved processes.

Highlights: The author discusses various tools, methodologies, best practices, examples, and cases of how, when, and where technology can be combined with a lean philosophy to "turbo charge" an organization's supply chain for a distinct competitive advantage.

Quick Takeaway: Like many other aspects of lean thinking in the supply chain, technology can be an enabler of an improved process, and can also help to retain and acquire new customers.