29 Nov

Supply Chain Strategy – 4 Key Pillars [Infographic]

To build Supply Chain Strategy first it is important to revisit what is a strategy in general. Max McKeown (2011) argues that [highlight]”strategy is about shaping the future” and is the human attempt to get to [highlight]”desirable ends with available means”, so regardless of the size of your business (SME or Large Corporation) or nature of your business most business leaders and managers are involved in developing Supply Chain Strategy or contribute towards the execution of strategy.

In the recent environment where the supply chain is used as a drive to give “competitive advantage”, I believe that a supply chain should be closely aligned with business strategy which helps to advance business objectives and achieve sustained profitable growth. While business strategy should drive supply chain design decisions, it is also critical to executing well on all of the supply chain’s tactical dimensions.

4 Pillars of Supply Chain Strategy

Regardless of how advanced your organization is in supply chain competency, it is important to understand the link between strategy and the supply chain: what performance level must the business achieve to be competitive? What level of development team is required to achieve desired results? What systems your organization you will use to have the right data to drive the right decision? What is the core processes your team or you need to master on? What role should the supply chain play for the current business environment and in the future?


To recognize our most important asset, our People, by building standard org structures with defined roles & responsibilities, maintaining relevant development & training plans, and working together. Be part of local organisation like CIPS or APICS.

To identify the opportunities for development for your self and your team, you can use this Materials Management Competency Assessment Tool so you can focus on the technical competence area where there are biggest gaps to close to strengthen your supply chain.



To leverage the use of standard Systems by building Core Processes around them and training the People to use them effectively.

Read more useful articles on systems and software here.

Core Processes:

To provide the best possible information for the business, based on sound analysis and consensus planning, to allow us to plan for and deliver results profitably. You must consider these 7 things before writing any supply chain policy.

One way to understand gaps in Core Processes is to conduct self-assessment. For example, I have developed following self-assessment tool to improve supply chain performance:

Well Researched Warehouse Audit Tool – To Improve Warehouse Performance

Sales and Operations Planning Process – Self-Assessment

category management

Procurement Toolbox # 1: Category Management

returns costs

Fundamentals of Returns Costs in Supply Chain

3PL selection

Understanding Third Party Logistics (3PL) Selection and Management

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To make full use of our People, Systems, Models and Planning tools to deliver product on time and at minimum cost to the business, maximizing profit and customer satisfaction.

This blog wont give you answer to those question but draws your focus on 4 Pillars of Supply Chain Strategy you need to focus on to perform a diagnostic of the current supply chain in order to prioritize the top areas for

As Paul J. Meyer said-

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

I have explained these 4 Pillars of Supply Chain Strategy in a bit more detail in this vlog.


Want to learn more on what to focus on when creating Supply Chain Strategy for your organization? Check out the infographic below for an even deeper dive:


4 Pillers of supply chain Strategy-Infographics


What other pillars you will include in the development of your Supply Chain Strategy?

About the Author- Dr Muddassir Ahmed

Dr MuddassirAhmed is the Founder & CEO of SCMDOJO. He is a global speakervlogger and supply chain industry expert with 17 years of experience in the Manufacturing Industry in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia in various Supply Chain leadership roles.  Dr. Muddassir has received a PhD in Management Science from Lancaster University Management School. Muddassir is a Six Sigma black belt and founded the leading supply chain platform SCMDOJO to enable supply chain professionals and teams to thrive by providing best-in-class knowledge content, tools and access to experts.

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