There is no denying that supply and design chains are getting more complex. Outsourcing and globalization are the two primary culprits. Complexity brings with it a whole new set of management challenges — and threats — that require new skills and processes. Every month, Electronics Supply & Manufacturing brings you articles that try to make sense of the complexity and offer guidance for new strategies. And, once a year, we bring the issues to life at the Supply Network Conference. This year's conference took place last month in San Jose and gave senior managers from across the industry a chance to share ideas and best practices for dealing with supply chain complexity. The theme of this year's conference: "Managing the Three A's of Supply Chain Excellence: Agility, Alignment and Adaptability."
Don't despair if you couldn't join us at the conference. This month's issue features a few articles that capture the conference theme. And you can view all the presentations — from the likes of Agilent, Cisco, HP, Intel, Lucent, PalmOne, Staples and others — on our Web site, at www.my-esm.com.
The Three A's are arguably the most important set of skills you need today. Stanford professor Hau Lee, our conference chairman, and author of the article on page 26, describes what it takes to achieve them. It's an important article that I highly recommend you share and discuss with your colleagues and supply chain partners.
Another important conference theme was "lean" supply chains. On page 60, ESM Senior Editor Crista Souza reports on what lean means and how two top-tier EMS providers, Solectron and Celestica, have embraced lean concepts.
This issue also contains two important case studies, both conference keynotes. One is our cover story on page 32 by Executive Editor Bolaji Ojo detailing the "invention" of HP's new supply chain. The other, on page 52, describes the supply chain transformation at Lucent by contributing editor Dean Takahashi.
The Three A's theme runs through all these articles and, indeed, runs through every issue of ESM. If you're not a Three A's advocate, then you need to get on board ASAP. If you are on board, please e-mail me. I'd like to hear your story.
Bruce Rayner can be reached at email@example.com.