By Rich Weissman
I am not a customer of Chipotle and honestly I have never eaten in one of their restaurants. When I crave those Tex-Mex flavors I head to one of a few local places in my area. Chipotle has certainly been in the news recently, what with the E. coli outbreak on the West Coast and the norovirus outbreak at a location in the Boston area that sickened many Boston College students. Their business is certainly taking a hit.
But my thanks are misguided. I should be thanking Business Week for their article on Chipotle and its supply chain issues that contributed to the outbreak. In this article we got to peak behind the curtain to learn about just how complicated the supply chain is for this restaurant chain. We also learn about how marketing decisions drive operational decisions that drive supply chain decisions that drive economic decisions. Ultimately, these decisions drove medical decisions. Cycle of life, I guess.
The pressure on our supply chains has never been greater. Yes, we speak about relationships, flexibility, and cost management. Conversations with our prime suppliers may be wonderful and enlightening, but cost savings, leadtime reductions, and other operational decisions come with a cost. And those costs, both economic and human, get amplified throughout the supply chain. Call it the bullwhip effect of pain. The savings have to come from somewhere, and we learn in this case they came from shortcuts.
Where is the pain in your supply chain?
Endicott College Assistant Professor Rich Weissman teaches management courses for the School of Business and the Van Loan Graduate School. He is also the director of corporate education, which includes the Center for Leadership, Endicott’s management development institute. He is vice chair of the planning committee and also serves on the technology committee and the Institution Review Board. A practitioner turned educator, Weissman has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of procurement and supply chain management. He has held positions with large business units of Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized contract manufacturing companies, small venture-backed Internet startup firms, and third-party procurement, consulting and strategic sourcing firms.
Rich holds an M.S. in Management from Lesley University and a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University. He is past president of the Purchasing Management Association of Boston and a recipient of the Harry J. Graham Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the association.
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