What is the right supply chain for your product ? A question was asked by Marshall L. Fisher in his article on the topic. The article also titled, “What is the Right Supply Chain for Your Product ?”, was published in March-April 1997 in the Harvard Business Review. The question was raised due to various improvements on supply chain has been done, but still it’s performance has never been worse. In some cases, costs have soar to unprecedented levels. It seems, new ideas and technology implemented haven’t lead to improved performance.
Based upon his ten years research on supply chain issues in diverse industries such as food, fashion, apparel and automobiles he devised a framework which helps managers to decide which supply would be best for managers. It helps managers understand the nature of the demand for their products and devise the supply chain that can best satisfy that demand.
He argued that the first and most important step in devising effective supply chain strategy is to understand the nature of the demand for the products one’s company supplies. He found that if one classifies products on the basis of their demand patterns, they fall into one of two categories : they are either primarily functional or primarily innovative. Each category requires a distinctly different kind of supply chain. The root cause of the problem would be the mismatch between the type of the product and the type of supply chain. Functional products require an efficient process, on the other hand innovatif products require a responsive process.