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Trends in Supply Chain Management Essay


Lean manufacturing has become one of the biggest trends in the development of supply chain management. Traditionally, organizations faced challenges of increasing wasteful production throughout their operations (Brian, 110).

Following this need, stakeholders across industries have focused on development of production approaches that would enable firms to minimize on the costs resulting from wasteful production. This method provides firms with a mechanism of leveraging costs while promoting the creation of savings in the end (Brian, 110).

Besides formulating approaches aimed at reducing the costs of operations, efforts have been scaled up in a bid to embrace environmental sustainability through efficient processes and production practices.

The introduction of lean manufacturing practices has proven successful in yielding numerous environmental benefits such as reduced pollution and waste reduction through reuse practices (Brian, 110). Therefore, the application of lean practices in manufacturing has greatly contributed toward leveraging compliance demands.

The lean philosophy in production has brought about possible and constant improvements in mass production because of Just in time (JIT). This aspect of lean manufacturing ensures customization o products while maintaining affordable and cost-effective prices for the customers.

Through lean production, employees remain the most valuable asset to the organization since the implementation of the philosophy requires their active participation (Clegg, 188).

Toyota remains one of the companies that have successfully implemented the philosophy and practices of lean production in which employee learning is assessed in the production assembly lines. Mutual respect for employees has had potential in establishing Toyota as one of the leading distributers of cars recording over 9 million sales per annum.

The other trend that preoccupies the supply chain management and operations involves the emerging need for sustainability standards (Rosemary & Cheryl, 2001). The International standards Organization (ISO) Corporate Social responsibility guideline emphasized on the determination of sustainable products that embraces customer needs and quality measures.

The demand for product sustainability and standards may hugely influence the trends in supply chain practices in the future. Since the inception of the practices of ISO, firms have received pressure to organize their production processes in order to embrace the international standards needed for compliance (Rosemary & Cheryl, 2001).

Similarly, the emergence of the concept of corporate social responsibility continues to add the impetus of the need for a sustainable community growth through organizational initiatives. The ongoing concerns of many organizations to coordinate community activities aimed at revamping organizational image has received much emphasis across the board (Jonson 45).

Besides the universal call for embracing a sustainable environment, the communities in have shown immense need for more concerted efforts from the firms to actively take part in their developmental activities. Needs such as human rights, eradication of poverty among others have taken center stage.

Using this platform, organizations have endeavored to utilize their presence in community initiatives to build their organizational goodwill in order to gain from the benefits that arise from their community initiatives.

Employee involvement- traditionally, firms treated employees as a separate input in the production processes. Ordinarily, organizations assumed the human perspective of employees, thus treating them as mere machines engaged in the production of goods and services.

Therefore, the concerns of the workers have been put within the confines of neglect (Hurchins 78). The explosion in knowledge and the need for technical skills in the work place have cooperated to call for increased competence at work place settings.

The organizations have called up their response to the social and professional needs of their employees by switching the decision processes toward employee-based approach.

According to Hanna (2000), this trend continues to lead to the development of the human resources management in order to emphasize the need for employee empowerment (149). As a result, quality management training that relies on the practices of lean philosophy has remained the major trend in the contemporary organizational setting (ICMR 119).

The application of computer-aided production methods has preoccupied the contemporary supply chain management (Heizer & Render 67). The need for efficient and fast processing of supplies in the distribution channels serves as the greatest impetus for the rising need for usage of computers and advanced technologies in moving the supply chains to a higher level.

Such trends have aimed at embracing timely distribution of products from the manufacturer’s premises to the final end users (Christopher 54). The application of this method has involved mechanisms such as the use of computerized inventory management systems that enhance high inventory turnover while cutting on the overall costs of ordering and storing the inventory (134).

Although the debates about the need for sustainable environment, the continued rallying for this urgent need has influenced the trends in the supply chain management. Organizations have been pressured to respond more vigorously in reducing the devastating effects of environmental pollution on the ecosystem.

To respond toward this critical initiative, organizations have mounted efforts aimed at ensuring the application of production and supply methods that minimize their contribution toward the detriment of the environment (Davis 35).


The recent and continuing trends in the supply chain and operations management have influenced the operations of organizations across the world. Some of the factors that have necessitated the trends remain both internally and internally driven. In essence, the need for a sustained organizational performance has called for firms to act speedily in a bid to fulfill the need for efficient production.

Some of the needs include the significance of people-based organizational decision making process, efficient and timely production, corporate social responsibility, and the environmental concerns.

Works Cited

Brian, Carroll. Lean Operations Principles, Tools & Practices. New York: Auerbach Publications, 2009. Print.

Christopher, Martins. Logistics and supply chain management. Harlow: prentice Hall, 1998. Print.

Clegg, Robinson. “A study into the effectiveness of quality management training.” The TQM Journal 22. (2010): 188-208.

Davis, Tom. Effective Supply-Chain Management. Harlow: Prentice Hall, 1993. Print.

Hanna, Dickens. “Linking Operational and Environmental improvement through employee involvement.” International Journal of Operations & production Management 20.2 (2000): 148-165.

Heizer, Jay., and Barry, Render. Operations Management. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Prentice hall, 2010. Print.

Hurchins, David. Just In Time. Hempshire: Gower Technical Press, 1998 Print.

ICMR. General Motors: The CAD-CAM-CAE Journey. IBS Centre for Management, 2002.

Jonson, Thomas. “Sustainability and Lean Operations.” Cost Management (2006): 40-45.

Rosemary, Fullertona, and Cheryl, McWatters. “The Production Performance benefits from JIT Implementation.” Journal of Operations Management, 2001.

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