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Douglas Radtke Sorts Out the Complexities of Supply Chain Management

A company’s supply chain not only affects every part of the organization, it is also highly strategic to the economy as a whole. In his interview with Steven Carrovale, Professor of Supply Chain Management at Florida Atlantic University, Douglas Radtke, Senior Director at SGS Maine Pointe, described the “critical tendrils” of the supply chain, its potential for generating value, the risks supply chains encounter both internally and externally, and the metrics used to assess the health of the supply chain.



The podcast resulting from this interview, “Too Complex to Fail: Supply Chain Management’s Role in the Financial Health of the Corporation,” emphasizes that every part of the company, including planning, procurement, operations, and logistics, must work in concert to create a healthy supply chain.

Radtke, who is also the co-editor of the Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, stresses that this cooperation should extend to the company’s suppliers. In best-in-class companies, supplier relationship management respects the needs of both sides; and the company avoids financial decisions that put its most vital suppliers in jeopardy.

Companies also need visibility into their suppliers’ suppliers. Radtke uses the example of electric vehicles. “The supply chain includes not just the battery manufacturer,” he says, “but the raw materials that go into EV batteries. That whole market affects your cost profile on down the chain.”

Supply chains face risks that vary from lead time and quality issues to cash management and geopolitics. When it comes to responding to risks, he states, the best in class companies develop plans early on. “One attribute shown by market leaders,” he states, “is their ability to move quickly when a course change is evident but doing so with care and forethought.”

Assessing the health of the supply chain requires an appreciation of data, trust in the data, and the ability to examine the data objectively. “There are areas fundamental to value creation and risk mitigation,” Radtke explains. “It’s important to look at that with an unbiased view and not just wait for a critical moment to do that. You have to go into it very open-minded, to hear new ideas and new ways of delivering on supply chain goals.”

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