Friday, April 18, 2008

Global Value Streams ..... 21st Century Skills

In the report "Tough Choices or Tough Times" there is a chart which is instructive when thinking about 21st Century Skills. It is a Triangle with a diamond at the top representing Creative Work which includes Research, Development, Design, Marketing & Sales and Global Supply Chain Management. In the lower part of the Triangle it shows how Routine Work is done by People and Machines; this gives a feel for how Routine Work is being displaced by machines. It also shows a horizontal line about midway which represents the work that has been outsourced overseas to developing countries. The horizontal line also intercepts the lower part of the diamond, indicating some of the creative work is now being done by non-US entities. Click here to get more information regarding the Tough Choices or Tough Times Report.

Metaphors for the 21st Century (M21C) focuses on the Supply Chain using the entity metaphors shown in the diagram. Sources, Businesses and Markets are indicated on the diagram.

In the center of each individual entity there is a metaphor which represents the Innovative Engine. This is discussed in our website.

In building competitive services and wares it is important to think of the supply chain not just as the materials flow but also include the information and the financial supply chains. Therefore for the flows shown in the diagram there is a triplet that must be considered when analyzing the competition. You can think of the materials as a forward flow and the financial as a backward flow; the information is both forward and backward flow.

There has been great progress in the past couple of decades in the information flow. In the not too distant past all information was in terms of physical paper flow, but with the new technologies of electronic data interchange the completion of pieces of paper by people have been transferred to automated computer and communications networks. This is an example where 21st Century Skills are becoming important in the creative work of developing and deploying systems that automate routine work.

A more recent technology that has enhanced the capability of supply chains is RFID. Bar coding has been used extensively to identify and improve flow of goods through the consumer chain. Retail scanners at checkout counters ring up the prices from a data base keyed to the bar codes. RFID takes the coding of bar codes one step further by including a serial number of the individual item. This becomes valuable when there are problems in the supply chain that have in the past resulted in massive recalls which could not identify the exact source of the problem. With RFID the item is tracked directly to the source. To benefit most from RFID, the infrastructure of the supply chain comes into play as an essential ingredient take advantage of this level of identification. For more insight into Supply Chain Management and RFID see RFID in the Context of 21st Century Skills (Workshop prepared by founder and presented at a local education institution.)

To be competitive use new ways of thinking inside and outside the box for 21st Century Skills in Tri-Supply Chain Management.

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