You will only truly optimize your supply chain by using not only lean and six sigma, but also the Supply Chain Operations Reference model, known as SCOR.
So argues Matthew Milas, a senior logistics engineer with Lockheed Martin and the head of a committee involved in SCOR.
As background, SCOR was created by the Supply Chain Council, an independent consortium of supply chain companies formed in 1996. SCOR is a diagnostic tool for supply chain management, designed to enable companies to address, improve and communicate supply chain management practices among all parties involved.
Milas, speaking at the recent conference of the Lean Aerospace Initiative, focused on what he called convergence – a coordinated approach to supply chain management.
His key point is that lean, six sigma and the SCOR do different things and work best in combination.
In several cases, they overlap. But Milas contends that SCOR does at least three things that lean and six sigma do not:
- Provide a common language and architecture from supply chain to supply chain
- Provide supply chain level metrics for system performance measurement and benchmarking
- Prioritize process improvements for the system
Convergence, he says, bridges the gap between strategic enterprise planning, continuous improvement and transformation.
I don’t know whether all that is true. But as a general rule, I certainly support the idea of not using lean and/or six sigma to the exclusion of anything else. Anyone who believes in continuous improvement ought to be open to new ideas and new approaches.