by Abe Eshkenazi, Chief Executive Officer, Association for Supply Chain Management

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From supporting cast to breakout star: supply chain’s competitive edge

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Supply chain affects your company’s bottom line, making the need for a global standard framework incredibly important.


Supply chain functions have traditionally been siloed, used by organisations as a wait-and-see tool instead of leveraged as a key part of the overall business strategy. 


Over the past decade, that mindset has changed. Supply chain is no longer a back-office function that flies under the radar. It’s a front-facing, strategic necessity and a competitive differentiator that’s become part of the corporate business model.


Because of this potential, effective business leaders are investing in supply chain optimisation. But before you can improve your supply chain strategy in both the short and long term, you must understand why supply chain matters, why a supply chain global standard is important and why you should prioritise an ethical supply chain.


Supply chain affects your bottom line


We know that business success hinges on ethical, economic and ecological operations. Are you aware of the critical role supply chain plays in each?




According to a recent survey conducted by the Association for Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Management Review and Loyola University, 83 per cent of supply chain professionals consider supply chain ethics extremely or very important. Consumers feel the same way – they insist products be made ethically, with appropriate human rights and labour practices. That ethical behaviour extends to responsible marketing and sales engagement. Supply chain professionals have high visibility across organisational sectors, allowing them to more quickly identify possibly unethical areas. Empower your supply chain employees to communicate with these various functions to be as proactive as possible.




Customers expect transparency from board members and corporate leadership. Business integrity is vital – just one crisis can damage a company’s reputation, harming sales and stock prices. Supply chain professionals help avoid those missteps – as Supply Chain Dive notes, “Their direct access to a wide range of practical market intelligence […] creates the perfect opportunity to be internal company advisers” on both micro and macro levels.




According to Nielsen, 83 per cent of millennials, 66 per cent of Gen Xers and 62 per cent of baby boomers have a strong desire for customers to implement sustainable, environmentally friendly practices. Yet a recent Deloitte survey found only 14 per cent of respondents said improving or protecting the environment was an organisational priority. These practices almost entirely revolve around supply chain. From suppliers using greener forms of travel for their goods to distribution optimisation, supply chain professionals have insight into the agility, cost and flexibility of business operations. They can strategise to ensure environmental compliance.


But just knowing that supply chain is essential isn’t enough. You must invest in your organisation and empower employees to take action. However, it can be difficult to know where to start.


A standard framework for success


Corporations need a consistent global standard for evaluating their supply chain organisations. With a global framework in place, you’ll know how your company stacks up against competitors and in the eyes of consumers.


Enter the ASCM Enterprise certification.


ASCM Enterprise is the first corporate supply chain designation that evaluates supply chain across ethical, economic and ecological dimensions. By offering key considerations for specific areas of supply chain processes, ASCM Enterprise empowers organisations, improving results and competitiveness.


With ASCM Enterprise, you can demonstrate to your customers that your organisation excels in the three pillars. You’ll see results in your bottom line, too. 


Ready to get started? Visit here for tools and resources to help your organisation leverage supply chain within your larger business strategy.

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