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2007 Global Survey Identifies Characteristics of Supply Chain Leaders

'Collaboration' Key to Success

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Companies identified as supply chain "leaders" have specific characteristics that position them for competitive advantage, according to the fifth annual Global Survey of Supply Chain Progress from Computer Sciences Corporation (NYSE: CSC), Supply Chain Management Review and Michigan State University (MSU). The survey, completed by supply chain professionals in 21 industries, identifies collaboration as a major differentiator between leaders and those identified as "followers" and "laggards."

Other leader traits include the designation of a chief supply chain officer, a strong connection between supply chain and information technology (IT) organizations, the strategic use of technology, and the incorporation of supply chain planning and strategy into the business plan.

In previous years, the survey emphasized progress along the five levels of CSC's Supply Chain Maturity Model, which ranks companies on a continuum of improvement -- from level I (enterprise integration) to level V (full network connectivity). This year, the survey focused on what type of progress was being made and why some firms are lagging -- particularly those actively engaged in supply chain improvement for several years. The goal was to determine how far each firm had progressed as their supply chain effort matured.

The data revealed several patterns that explain the differences and what leads to greater overall success. "These patterns indicate future efforts will be favorably enhanced if those in the follower and laggard categories focus more attention on the lessons learned by the leaders -- especially in terms of increased collaboration with suppliers and customers," said Chuck Poirier, author of eight books on supply chain management and a partner in CSC's Consulting Group. "This is the one area that can make the most impact in terms of supply chain improvement. Without effective collaboration, the followers and laggards will not realize the benefits the leaders enjoy."

Survey findings also indicate a significant opportunity for financial officer involvement in supply chain efforts. "They can be especially helpful in supplying cost data and drawing attention to the ways improvements can enhance financial performance," said Poirier. "The leaders' use of costing and financial information to impact strategy and tactics is evidence that a closer relationship can be quite beneficial."

Additionally, survey responses reveal that many companies, primarily the followers and the laggards, still struggle to gain the full benefit of their technology investments. "Getting the process right must come first, followed by successful enablement through application of the correct software and technology," said Professor Morgan Swink, a supply chain expert with MSU's Broad School of Business. "Advantages can be gained by applying this axiom to such areas as warehouse management and transportation management systems, followed by network analyses that lead to collaborative improvement of the end-to-end linked processes."

The 2007 Global Survey of Supply Chain Progress was sent to supply chain professionals around the world. The names were drawn from CSC's client base, readers of Supply Chain Management Review and other publications of Reed Business Information, and executives who have participated in graduate-level supply chain educational programs at MSU.

A total of 179 individuals completed the comprehensive, eight-page questionnaire. The majority of responses came from North America, mainly the United States. Twenty-one industries were represented, ranging from aerospace and defense to retail and consumer packaged goods to high technology and telecommunications. Organizationally, 51 percent of the respondents represented corporate entities; 28 percent were from wholly owned subsidiaries or strategic business units; and 21 percent were from groups or multiple divisions.

The survey report, which includes the complete set of questions and responses, and an executive summary, can be found at

About SCMR

Supply Chain Management Review is an executive-level publication dedicated to the art and science of moving goods to market. Our readers are senior managers responsible for their companies' supply chain activities. Readers also include educators and management consultants who need to keep current with the latest supply chain trends. We are published eight times a year by Reed Business Information.

Each issue of Supply Chain Management Review provides comprehensive coverage of a wide range of supply chain management issues. The editorial package includes in-depth feature articles, exclusive columnists, professional development opportunities, and a complete listing of information resources.

About Michigan State University

Michigan State University's department of Supply Chain Management is widely acknowledged by academia and industry as the leader in creating, integrating, and disseminating supply management, manufacturing, and logistics knowledge. Both undergraduate and graduate educational programs in SCM at MSU are consistently ranked number 1 or 2 in the world. Our vision for supply chain management embraces all aspects of creating customer value and delivering a standard of living in the global competitive economy. At the heart of the vision is the integration of customer needs with the processes of new product and service development, strategic management of global operations, logistics, and supply management.

We offer strong research-based knowledge products; excellence in education to executives, PhD, MBA, and undergraduate students; and an integrated, dynamic, and forward-oriented vision of supply chain management.

About CSC

Computer Sciences Corporation is a leading global IT services company. CSC's mission is to provide customers in industry and government with solutions crafted to meet their specific challenges and enable them to profit from the advanced use of technology.

With approximately 87,000 employees, CSC provides innovative solutions for customers around the world by applying leading technologies and CSC's own advanced capabilities. These include systems design and integration; IT and business process outsourcing; applications software development; Web and application hosting; and management consulting. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., CSC reported revenue of $14.9 billion for the 12 months ended March 30, 2007. For more information, visit the company's Web site at

SOURCE Computer Sciences Corporation
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