A Busy and Productive Year

Those who followed my blog in 2013 would have noticed a sharp decline in article output. Like many other writers in the blogosphere my writing flow slipped under the pressure of all the other things happening in my life. For one thing, I was launching a new software business focused on tactical transport optimization and planning. But more distracting was the fact I was writing up a textbook on the subject of supply chain visibility. Jonathan Norman, an editor on supply chain topics for Gower Publishing, had reached out to me in the autumn of 2012, and over the following months a first chapter was reviewed by the editorial board and we agreed to publish a textbook together. Here is a link to the book on Amazon.

Although I had been writing blog articles of considerable length (I tend to favor long-form writing) on the topic, and although I was energized about the endeavor, writing the textbook proved harder than I expected. For one thing, it needed to be fresh content not simply a re-working of what I had published in the blog. Second, a textbook is an even longer-form style that requires ensuring cohesion across a few hundred pages. Third, it was a chance and a requirement that I systematically review the insights and assumptions I had made over the years on this subject and that I put those to the test of surveys and interviews with other domain experts.

Although the blog content suffered while I finished the textbook, taken together I feel good about my contribution to the supply chain field in 2013. Just before the end of the year my software company was purchased by GT Nexus, a rising star of supply chain software solutions. My book was released in January 2014 and has received excellent reviews. As of 2014 it is being used in several university courses worldwide.

What’s in the book?

Unlike my blog articles, the book focused very precisely on supply chain visibility. It tries to answer these major questions:

  1. What is supply chain visibility, its history and definition?
  2. How is supply chain visibility supposed to benefit businesses that use it, and how can a visibility solution be scorecarded?
  3. What are the major types of supply chain visibility, what is their strategic purpose, and when are they appropriate?
  4. How does one acquire supply chain visibility technology?
  5. How does one build visibility technology in-house?
  6. What are the emerging trends in business and technology that will impact supply chain visibility?

In each of these areas I bring a combination of academic research, industry interviews, and personal experience to bear on the topic. No other published work addresses these questions at this depth, and feedback after six months is that readers find the content very useful.

Where to find the book?

For those interested, the book can be ordered from these links in hardback or e-book formats from Amazon and also for the publisher directly. Feel free to contact me with any feedback, positive or negative.

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