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Quality is no longer enough. Nor is a brand.

Manufacturing know-how, certainly. Excellent quality, of course. Unmistakable style, naturally. But as competition becomes increasingly fierce and necessarily global, and in the face of schizophrenic markets and unpredictable consumption models, all of this is no longer enough. It also takes a different sort of organization and, above all, a network of relationships, both within the company and with the outside world, that was unthinkable not too long ago.

In other words, if product quality and a reputable brand are no longer enough of a guarantee of competitiveness, something else needs to pick up the slack. But what? And how?

One way is by improving supply chain management (SCM). To understand how this is down and see how it has already been done, take one of the recent works of Raffaele Secchi, a researcher and instructor for the Department of Management at Bocconi University, Milan. On the 300 pages of his book Supply Chain Management & Made in Italy, you will not find mere theory, but also nine practical case studies regarding nine different organizations. And specifically Barilla, Granarolo, Lavazza, B&B Italia, Elica, Poltrona Frau Group, Loro Piana, Luxottica, and Piquadro. All Italian firms and all of whom have seen, in various ways, how much supply chain management contributes to their competitiveness.

The crux of the matter is simple. By adopting practices to integrate processes and developing strategies of collaborating with the players throughout the supply chain, an organization can significantly enhance its competitiveness. As readers of the book will discover.

In short, brand and product quality are still the strengths of Italian industry, but to remain competitive in the international marketplace, a third aspect can no longer be ignored: organization in the processes of supply chain management. And not just in the traditional Italian industries of food, design and fashion.

Supply Chain Management & Made in Italy. Lezioni da nove casi di eccellenza

Raffaele Secchi

Egea, 2012