Supply Chain Management

Addressing Your Supply Chain Management Crisis with Interim Talent

Addressing Your Supply Chain Management Crisis with Interim Talent

Supply Chain has been getting more mainstream attention than ever before, but not for the best reasons. Issues driven by the global pandemic have put Supply Chain Management at center stage, and virtually everyone has firsthand experience with what delays and breakages in the supply chain can mean.

Supply Chain Management is the practice of planning, managing, streamlining and continuously improving the supply chain processes to reduce cost and wasted time and effort.

Supply Chain: What is it?

In the simplest terms, the Supply Chain is the network of resources and activities needed to convert raw materials, information and components to create a finished product or service delivered to the end user.

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the practice of planning, managing, streamlining and continuously improving the supply chain processes to reduce cost and wasted time and effort. SCM requires the close monitoring of all costs needed to create a product and service for end users and analyzing/acting on opportunities for improvement. When done correctly, SCM is a competitive differentiator for every industry in the world.

In order for the end-to-end Supply Chain to function properly, there are a number of elements which must work well together. For example:

  • Capable talent
  • Quality resources – materials and information making up value-add SC outputs
  • Robust Supply Chain Design, Management, Governance, and CI Strategy
  • Software and Technologies – Digital Transformation, Digitization of Work and the emergence of Industry 5.0

As we saw with the global pandemic, when one or two of these processes are not working well with the others, major outages and delays can occur.

Supply Chain Overview – Visualize the Components of the Supply Chain

When describing and visualizing Supply Chain, the Enterprise Alignment Diagram developed by ExecQtion ( is a useful view. There are 5 main components that create the supply chain & allow it to function.

These elements are:

  1. Planning
  2. Sourcing (the materials that go into production)
  3. Production (or making the product)
  4. Delivering the product to the end customer
  5. Return lifecycle management (returns and recycling)

The SCOR Model Helps to Manage and Measure the Supply Chain

Another useful model is The Supply Chain Operations Reference Model, or SCOR, developed by the Supply Chain Council to give industry leaders predefined best practices and metrics for each type of supply chain.

SCOR has also been acquired by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), as an industry standard for “managing and measuring the performance of a global supply chain.” explains the SCOR Model is:

“Designed to evaluate your supply chain for effectiveness and efficiency of sales and operational planning (S&OP). SCM (Supply Chain Management) is complex, and S&OP implementation can be difficult, but the SCOR model is intended to help standardize the process and create a measurable way to track results.”

In order for the Supply Chain to be successful, there are many moving parts and processes which need to work together in harmony. Some key examples include:

  • Talent/People: having the right people in place to complete the needed tasks. This includes talent at the highest strategic levels down to the shipping and handling staff. It’s your people who have to mind the crucial elements of Supply Chain Design, Management, Governance, and Continuous Improvement Strategy

  • Resources: in order to produce products and services optimally, all of the elements for value added delivery need to be in the right places at the right time.

  • Software: the complexities of SCM require the right software products to manage the various processes and individuals.

  • Technology: Digital Transformation, Digitization of Work and the emergence of Industry 5.0 all impact crucial technology impacts to supply chain execution

When the Skilled Talent, Resources, Software and Technology are functioning properly, there are some key components related to Supply Chain Design, Management, Governance, and CI Strategy needed to support the Supply Chain’s proper execution that include many things including:

  • The right metrics
  • Key performance indicators
  • The right alliances and partnerships
  • Policies and directives
  • Continuous improvement framework
  • Development of talent and organizational capabilities

A company’s Supply Chain Organizational Structure determines how the Supply Chain is managed. This Organizational Structure is made up of:

  • Overall Company Strategy for Supply Chain (including Governance)
  • Design of supply chain network that includes:
  • Third-party logistics, inbound/outbound logistics management
  • Sourcing Strategies, including geographic locations and where materials are sourced – Supply Chain nodes and networks
  • Physical facilities of the firm and now they integrate

Organizations consider where they compete, what their growth targets are and how they plan to market and sell their products. These considerations and many others sit on top of the general day-to-day execution of supply chain operations.

What roles and expertise are needed for supply chain planning, sourcing and production?

If you want to succeed and maintain operational excellence, there are certain key technologies and tools to use. Some of these operational excellence tools include:

The VP of Supply Chain

Is responsible for governance across the supply chain in alignment of overall corporate strategy. They are responsible for overseeing everything in the supply chain – all the way back to “the dirt” (the elemental materials that go into making the product – metals, oil, etc.) and out to the end customer. In MetaExperts terms, this is a Master MetaExpert who has an end-to-end perspective and can step in as the interim vice president of supply chain.

Talent with Niche/Specific skillsets

Companies often need talent to fill very specific holes in the planning of the supply chain system. MetaExperts gets frequent requests for talent with Sales, Inventory & Operations Planning (SIOP) expertise, who also know ERP systems.

Example: MetaExperts received a request for an SAP experienced resource with experience in SIOP and optimization of inventory planning, and was able to think through how production and scheduling be done properly. Master or Expert level MetaExperts are often the best resource in this case.


Experts in sourcing and managing of supply – many companies are being crushed by poor supply. Their own labor shortage leaves them without the right planning or sourcing skills and supplier resource management skills. MetaExperts has the right people to step in and help with procurement and sourcing.

Next Level Purchasing Association’s 2020 CPO Outlook Survey names the #1 skillset needed now as Supply Strategy, Risk and Change Management, closely followed by skills in Supplier Development and Management

Supply Chain and Procurement Operations Talent comes in to fill gaps in various of areas, including:

  • Overseeing quality management in-house and in the field with suppliers
  • Industrial engineering / material flow optimization
  • Running Lean and or Six Sigma projects to improve processes
  • Plant general management
  • Warehouse optimization
  • Facility moves, startups – project management

Which roles and expertise are required for the delivery component of the supply chain?

Once you have a product successfully manufactured, the work is far from over. Product fulfilment follows and including many elements. Perhaps most important is in and out-bound logistics.

Logistics takes in planning, transportation of inbound/outbound goods, managing inventory, logistical / fulfilment outsourcing and possibly the management of the fleet of transportation vehicles.

A few of the areas here include:

  • 3PL or Third-party Logistics
    Often, choosing a 3PL is necessary to ensure the supply chain runs smoothly. The proper 3PL requires weighing several options including pricing, location, packaging, etc.
  • Warehousing involves the organization and the storage and retrieval of goods
    This requires a keen attention to detail and deep experience with a variety of warehouse designs and the IT systems utilized.
  • Transportation planning; a plan for every part
    Determining how each item will be controlled, delivered, meeting tight deadlines and controlling costs.

A few examples from MetaExperts experience:

  • While waiting for immigration processing to hire a new procurement officer, an Interim MetaExpert was able secure and book $40 million in spend savings on a $400 million spend over six months.
  • An automotive supplier had success with bringing in two MetaExperts to focus on parts delivery and expediting for several months so that the managers could focus on longer term strategy and developing new suppliers.
  • A manufacturer of refrigeration units engaged a MetaExpert to be the program manager for a portfolio of projects to streamline the flow of parts from warehouses and suppliers to their assembly lines over several months.
  • In Mexico, a MetaExpert was deployed to assist the materials management group to deploy Pull Systems and Kanban methods for the first time to reduce inventories without risking outages.

The Bicycle Supply Chain

When visualizing the Supply Chain, a simple product example is helpful. Take for example the supply chain involved in the production of a bicycle. You have one company that designs and makes bicycles. In order to create the end product of a bicycle, you need a number of suppliers. For example, they have a supplier that makes the wheels:

  • But, the wheels also have metal spokes. So, the wheel supplier needs to use their supplier who has the parts needed to make spokes.
  • Additionally, you have the steel of the bicycle’s frame, the rubber in the handle bars, the gears, etcetera from various suppliers.

The downstream (or outbound stream) has the wholesalers and distributors and retailers who sell the bicycles. And then finally, the end customer who owns the bicycle. In this example, there are a minimum of 5 different supply chain strategies that have to be thought about, particularly as you go into the upstream suppliers.

MetaExperts includes in its ranks many experts in thought leadership in end-to-end supply chain best practices. We also have access to world-class supply chain playbooks and training materials needed to develop the skills of your team. MetaExperts bring industry specific experiences to support you in working through how to govern total end to end supply chain performance, for everything across the supply chain–from ‘dirt’ to the end customer.

What is supply chain risk management?

Supply Chain Risk Management is an integral piece to the management of the supply chain. In order to be prepared for disruptions, you must plan for them.

Threats to the supply chain can include:

  • Volatility of costs
  • Shortages in materials
  • Failures of suppliers and other resources
  • Natural disasters and other unpredictable supply disruptions.

Data analytics plays a critical role in identifying and planning for potential risks

Keep in mind, Risk Management is not a ‘one and done’ process. Elements such as: the political climate , the environment and trade all continue to evolve and change and the risks which may impact your supply chain are also subject to change.

Additionally, situational risks also need to be considered. If your organization is considering a facility move, entering a new market, near/reshoring of supply or product redesign, new risks will arise.

When identifying risks, it’s important to consider how these can impact overall performance domains in supply chain performance as suggested in the SCOR Model:

  • Reliability
  • Responsiveness
  • Agility
  • Cost
  • Asset efficiency

Once risks have been identified they need to be qualified by level of probability, monitored, acted upon, mitigated and controlled.

Where MetaExperts step in to relieve supply chain pain

MetaExperts offer support at four different levels:


Architect level MetaExperts bring more than 20 years of experience, top-level supply chain skills, specific industry domain knowledge, and understanding of the ‘C suite’ challenges to solving difficult organizational problems by leveraging their vast experiences and TOP Facilitator skills. These highly skilled experts are the best choice when you need to solve the most complex and challenging supply chain issues. They are most helpful when you need help to formulate enterprise level strategies and connect them to the best tactical actions with proper governance and overall design.


Master level MetaExperts are top talent with 15-plus years’ experience and a deep knowledge of tactical and specific technical skills in supply chain management. These exceptionally skilled individuals are qualified to handle challenging organizational problems. When failure is not an option and you need something that has ‘been there, done that’ many times in their careers, these pros are in their element


These MetaExperts bring ten or more years’ practical experience and the skills to step in as part of your team overnight. While they can’t lead transformation from the C-suite, the do bring ‘boots on the ground’ skills to perform tactical actions. When you don’t need another consultant to tell you what’s wrong and instead.


The Analyst has worked in a variety of positions with five-plus years of experience in certain skill disciplines and industries. Analysts are engaged as part of bigger supply chain projects where the level of the tasks does not require transformation skills.

Our Experts abilities align within the following typical Org Chart

No matter the operational issue you’re facing with your supply chain there is a MetaExpert, or a team of MetaExperts who can join your team and work with you to ‘Get It Done’. MetaExperts can step in at any level needed from a Senior Supply Chain VP down to a skilled professional to do day-to-day planning and supplier management tasks on an interim basis.

Whether you need to rethink procurement and sourcing or you need specific commodity expertise to source suppliers and manage costs, we can provide the talent you need to Get It Done.

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