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Supply chain mapping: Democratizing data and improving operations

In our last issue, we discussed supply chain mapping,[1] gave a brief description of what that process entails and included some resources for further study. In this article we will dig a little deeper into the argument in favor of a robust supply chain mapping strategy, as well as provide a few examples.

While studying this process, it’s also instructive to think of supply chain mapping as not just what manufacturers and retailers do, but a process that any organization should be doing, whether it is mapping actual raw materials, data flows or any other process of creation and distribution. Value stream mapping,[2] for example, was designed for the automobile manufacturing process, but “can be used to improve any process where there are repeatable steps — and especially when there are multiple handoffs.”

Thinking of the process in this broader context allows organizations to step back and understand why it is so critical to invest resources into supply chain mapping, value stream mapping, or material and information flow mapping; whichever phrase fits best.

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