Demand chain management — The implementation
Most current supply chain models were developed during a period of relative stability. Today, the environment is discontinuous, volatile and unpredictable. This requires a major rethinking and revitalisation of existing supply chain models. Supply chains are much more than warehouses, transportation and technology, they are people powered and have to be treated as social and political as well as economic and technical systems. The most difficult yet challenging and rewarding factor is the change of mindset from approaches based on the old industrial paradigm to the new knowledge oriented paradigm. From “one size fits all” to customisation and buyer behaviour oriented segmentation based on structural flexibility. The new approach requires a change of processes and management systems, but most of all, a change of mindset, organisation structure and behaviour. This may create internal resistance that has to be overcome to reach the desired future state. This future state is highly dependent on cooperation and consensus with external companies, and the next step is therefore to extend the alignment approach to the chosen partners in the demand chain. The development towards channel rather than company competition requires an interorganisational approach to channel design. Internal alignment and cooperation is necessary but not sufficient, which means that an agile and dynamically aligned demand
chain has to be created. All this is well known and documented in both research and theory. However, the challenge is to implement these theories, models and behaviour in practice. This paper presents one practical approach to implementation of the theories put forth by Ericsson [Ericsson D, 2011, Demand chain management — The evolution, ORiON, 27(1), pp. 45–81.].
Key words: Change management, demand chain management, structural flexibility, dynamic alignment.