This past December, the Supply Chain Council issued SCOR 11, the most recent update of its supply chain operations reference (SCOR) model framework. The SCOR framework has been used for decades as a standard approach to design and implementation of supply chain practices and business processes recognized by many leading companies and practitioners around the world. Given that a release generally comes every two to three years, an update for SCOR 11 is a big deal in operational circles.
Previous to SCOR 11, the framework considered a more linear 'waterfall' flow of activities associated with classical process mapping.
The previous versions of SCOR included several process steps, defined as "Level 1" in the framework, including Plan, Source, Make, Deliver and Return or Service. Underneath these Level 1 process steps are several Level 2 and Level 3 process steps as well. Many company operating models use these process steps and sub-level steps to define their business practices and procedures. In addition, some guidance around cost models based on process activities can be gleaned from SCOR 10.
In SCOR 11, the council review team , which comprises supply chain practitioners who walk the walk and talk the talk, noticed that a common Level 2 process called Enable was worthy of moving up to Level 1 status. Previous to SCOR 11, the framework considered a more linear "waterfall" flow of activities associated with classical process mapping. With SCOR 11, the Enable Level 1 process provides guidance on how to support the original five process steps with best practices to support those steps. This change essentially creates a closed-loop model to SCOR 11, similar to the current ISO 9000 models built on the Deming "Plan-Do-Check-Act" feedback model.
SCOR 11 rates best practices for supply chain practitioners
Another aspect of SCOR 11 is the delineation of best practices into specific grades of effectiveness. Since all organizations are not created equal, it might appear difficult to a small to medium-sized business to commit to a process perceived to be heavy and overkill to the organization. SCOR 11 adds a practice qualifier or indicator of the life cycle stage to provide guidance for the maturity level and effectiveness of business practices found in the SCOR framework. The Level 1 processes and Level 2 and even Level 3 sub-processes can suggest different entry points, exit points and maturity levels for best practices.
A frequent assessment approach to operating model evaluation is level charting, where a maturity matrix of capabilities -- similar to the level method approach by the Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Matrix -- determines baseline organizational capabilities against leaders and laggards of industry peers. With best practices guidance provided in SCOR 11, supply chain practitioners can better determine where they are versus where they need to be and quickly establish the cost-benefit of implementing design process improvements using level charting and other assessment approaches.
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Software companies have long considered the benefit of including the SCOR framework in their architecture, and SCOR 11 provides an opportunity to continue that approach. Stephanie Gruber, solution manager for the SAP Supply Chain Performance Management system, says the SCOR framework is important for customer use inside their analytics environment to measure successful execution of business operations. "[Customers gain] complete visibility into supply chain performance, which complies with leading industry standards such as [SCOR] to define operational dependencies," said Gruber.
While roadmaps are not immediately forthcoming due to safe harbor restrictions, look for leading companies to continue to use the SCOR framework as the basis for process, analytics and best practices calculations. The Supply Chain Council maintains a list of its active software partners that is semi-regularly updated. It's best to investigate the current position and ownership model of each listed partner, as the market for supply chain software continues to evolve and consolidate.
The SCOR 11 framework is available to council members online at the Council website, and you can request or download PDF versions from the members section of the website. Training for SCOR in 2013 will be based on the SCOR 11 release.
About the author
William Newman is managing principal of Newport Consulting Group LLC, an independent management and technology consulting firm based in Clarkston, Mich. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @william_newman.
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