Supply Chain Quality: Time for a New Perspective

Blog Written by Adelante SCM’s and Talking Logistics’ President, Adrian Gonzalez, Featuring Elemica

We say that quality is important in supply chain management, but do we focus on it with the same level of urgency, sophistication, and importance as other facets of SCM? Likewise, we stress the importance of obtaining end-to-end supply chain visibility, but what about end-to-end supply chain quality? What does that entail, and how do you best enable and manage it?

Those are the key questions I discussed with David Cahn, Director of Global Marketing at Elemica, during a recent episode of Talking Logistics.


A new look at supply chain quality

Quality certainly isn’t a new concept or objective in supply chain management, but how
does it align with our more recent focus on end-to-end operations? I began our discussion
by asking David for his definition of supply chain quality within this context.
David notes that quality is often defined within the concept of total quality management
(TQM) which seeks constant improvement in quality and performance to exceed customer
expectations. It’s achieved by integrating the quality-related processes within the company
such as product design, development, control and maintenance. “But it also should include
product delivery and all the processes of the SCOR model,” says David. “TQM in logistics can
help companies increase speed-to-market, enhance visibility, control costs and improve
customer service.

“It also must take into account the fragmented regulatory environment,” adds David. “It has
become harder for companies to comply with changing regulations globally. TQM can help
to speed and improve regulatory compliance across end-to-end supply chain processes.”

Process Quality

Since we often think of quality in terms of product quality, I asked David to explain what it
means for processes. He says that in manufacturing you concentrate on quality control,
quality assurance and quality improvement. In logistics you can focus on process
improvement across every step of the supply chain using many Six Sigma concepts and
engineering standards. “Quality and supply chain executives must look at how their
1/2 function delivers value to the transformative organization and work with business partners
to bring value to customers in the form of lower costs and more reliable service,” suggests
David. “The whole organization must be focused on quality, not just the quality function.”

Why now?

To read Adrian’s complete blog click here