Are companies turning the promise of supply chain management into real competitive advantages? The findings of a new Focus Study authored by Stanley Fawcett, Ph.D., Gregory Magnan, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Ogden, Ph.D., suggest that managers are spending more time evaluating supply chain-enabled business models, but most have not fully grasped the nature of collaboration or the concept of what it takes to achieve a true collaborative capability. The authors state that supply chain collaboration remains ad hoc and fragmented in all but the most mature supply chain relationships, and companies are unsure how to piece them together into a coherent strategic plan. While some companies have caught the vision and are making great progress on their supply chain journey, others continue to be blinded by 'business as usual' and are not prepared for the journey ahead. The authors note that these companies must get their supply chain collaboration in shape quickly before the competition leaves them too far behind to catch up.

To help companies better understand the forces that are driving changes in supply chain collaboration, the authors provide a three-step process to identify and compare the benefits, barriers, and bridges to assess and communicate the viability of pursuing a path toward collaborative advantage. The three stages are:

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