Innovation involves the deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products.
This view to innovation extends beyond our technical supply chain space into organisational awareness and purpose. In fact, these are business-led innovative approaches that the supply chain must support.
Overall, supply chain innovation could be seen as a certain set of tools to improve enterprise processes that are directed for efficient and effective supply chain management through perfect integration with suppliers and customers.
Supply Chain innovation can be divided into three categories in the supply chain field:
- New technology, such as satellite navigation and full visibility of shipments and deliveries,
- Network design, to optimise the supply chain material flows
- Process optimisation, such as just-in-time methods and agile strategies.
Innovation may support supply chains to differentiate themselves from their competitors, enhance efficiencies, and improve customer service levels.
And let’s not forget that innovative practices would likely be collaborative and with supply chain-wide impacts.
Our work in this area is critical to professionalising the supply chain profession and a key area explored within the Leading Procurement Strategy Programme and Supply Chain Management Programme to enable effective skills for next generation professionals in these areas.
Blog produced by: Dr Soroosh Saghiri, Senior Lecturer and Course Director of Leading Procurement Strategy Programme at Cranfield School of Management.