Principles of Supply Chain Management

Richard R. Young (Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



Young, R.R. (2004), "Principles of Supply Chain Management", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 34 No. 10, pp. 856-857.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Most texts on supply chain management have their origins in either materials management or physical distribution management. As the concept of integrated logistics management and supply chain management became more prevalent, text authors added some element of the missing component while most often retaining their original emphasis. Where this text sets itself apart is self‐described in the subtitle, A Balanced Approach.

The text's topical coverage opens with a chapter seeking to build an integrated mindset for the sections that follow. Then reflecting on its balanced approach it closely mirrors the physical flow through the Supply Chain Operational Reference (SCOR) Model's steps of source, make and deliver as represented respectively by purchasing, operations and distribution. Each is given approximate equal representation. A final section of the book is titled “Sustaining Competitive Advantage” and to some extent serves as a proxy for SCOR's plan function.

The book ebbs and flows between higher level overviews of key elements of supply chain management and somewhat detailed specific issues and tools, understanding of which students will require for future study such as rudimentary forecasting techniques and basic inventory theory. Here is where the reader encounters some inconsistencies. For example, although the impact of purchase price on EOQ levels is discussed, there is no mention of the relationship between transportation modal selection and inventory. Moreover, while make versus buy decision making receives coverage in the purchasing section, there is no mention anywhere of landed cost models, a tool of particular significance when making offshore sourcing decisions.

Where the balanced approach deserves much credit is with the inclusion of coverage on enterprise resource planning (EFP). These have had major organizational impacts as firms have transitioned from a collection of legacy applications that often did not function together to systems that provide whole enterprise access and visibility. The text does a commendable job of exposing students to this concept and even articulates the functioning of some of the supply chain‐specific bolt‐on applications such as those offered by i2 Technologies and Manugistics.

This text does, however, have two significant shortcomings. The first is a micro issue where this reviewer found bits and pieces of topics scattered across several chapters. One such topic is sourcing, which is covered in chapters 2, 3 and 4, with the last providing perhaps the most comprehensive coverage. Cognitively, these need to be better linked to provide students with a more comprehensive understanding. The second issue is more pervasive. While the book is laid out to follow physical flow, a more useful presentation would have been to follow the sequence of events linked to demand. In other words, following the chapter on supply chain integration, the book should have introduced the topic of customer demand followed by those issues often referred to as “getting close to the customer,” namely, customer service and location decisions. Subsequent chapters could then address transportation and warehousing followed by the sections on operations and procurement. Finally, the linkages between operations and supply management should be defined within the context of suppliers being extensions of operations – providing those goods and services that the organization elects to not produce for itself. The overarching message of the book could then support the concept that supply chain activities are all undertaken to further customer value.

The final section, “Sustaining Competitive Advantage”, appropriately revisits the importance of integration and includes an entire chapter on measurement across the supply chain. This may be the authors' most pertinent contribution because, to use an old adage, “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it” and too many organizations still cling to their age‐old suboptimal metrics despite public claims of practicing true boundary‐spanning supply chain management.

Writing a single book that at a minimum attempts to replace basic texts in both logistics and operations had to have been a difficult task, given that these have traditionally been very different paradigms, despite some of the obvious overlaps. It is written in a direct, easy‐to‐comprehend prose and contains a wealth of classroom resources, including exercises and extensive references to useful web sites that will appeal to students as well as instructors. The cases contained at the end of each chapter have appropriate objectives and sufficient detail to warrant a variety of uses that could include homework assignments, breakout discussions, or even paper topics. The basic tradeoff is whether the integrative approach is sufficient to overcome this reviewer's problem with the particular sequencing is a personal decision, perhaps with one solution being to reshuffle the chapter assignments in one's syllabus.

Overall, the text appears to provide content that is intended as the primary resource for an undergraduate survey course or introductory MBA course. Practitioners finding themselves in need of a quick primer on the subject of supply chain management may also wish to add it to their bookshelves.

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