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Good Fortune or Strategic Opportunity?

Total cost of ownership strategies, fortune cookie

By Mark Schmit, MEP National Accounts Manager

Every once in a while, a person (or maybe a project) just happens to be in the right place at the right time. You can call it fate, kismet, plain old good luck, the blessings of a sixth sense, the byproduct of the stars aligning, or any number of terms for finding oneself smack-dab in the middle of the nexus of good fortune. Sometimes, it’s a little of those things and a little hard work that finally comes through. To me, a combination of good luck and hard work sums up the position of the MEP Supply Chain Optimization (SCO) program, especially when I come across articles like this one, “Managing the Risk of Disruption in Your Supply Chain”, recently published in Supply and Demand Chain Executive.

This article supports many of the items instilled in MEP SCO. For example, straight from the article, is this quote– “We continue to find that the true value and financial impact of the supply chain is rarely viewed holistically to gain an understanding of the breadth and depth of the exposure. Rather, it is often viewed in silos, with issues and problems addressed as they arise.

When you think of a holistic approach to help you holistically approach the financial impact, you might consider a strategy that sharpens the focus or Total Cost of Ownership. This method is a set of related concepts that allow for the quantification of costs for every activity along the supply stream, including the acquisition, transportation, storage of raw materials, as well as the selling of purchased goods or services. The intent is to be able to make smart sourcing decisions once you have identified all costs, including those that are sometimes hidden.

In my favorite line, the author reminds readers that, “supplier relationships and the supporting supply network are just as important as [the enterprise’s] internal processes, personnel and systems because they are inextricably linked to what makes the business model work.”

A key component of MEP SCO is based on establishing a comprehensive view of the supply chain and improving the visibility and responsiveness of all tiers supporting the supply chain, especially the ones furthest from the customer. The MEP SCO manufacturer engagements including ‘Charting the Voyage’ and ‘Navigating the Course’ foster such relationships through collaboration leading to a higher overall value, including profitability and satisfaction throughout the system.

For us, this article defines an opportunity, recommending shifts in executive thinking from the ‘firefighting mindset’ to more proactive, long-range strategies.  Articles like this one may offer advice, but we can offer resources and solutions to their concerns.

As MEP National Accounts Manager, Mark Schmit has a successful track record of developing outreach programs and partnerships with private-sector entities that solve real-world competitiveness problems while maintaining a mission-driven perspective.  Mark identifies new business opportunities that leverage state and federal funding with the goal of improving the competitiveness of U.S.-based manufacturers.  Defined as a next generation strategy, supply chain optimization is a key area of focus for Mark and MEP, respectively. Contact Mark at or read more of his posts on the Manufacturing Innovation Blog.


Meet the Author

Mark Schmit

Mark Schmit, National Accounts Manager for NIST-MEP, develops outreach programs and partnerships within the private sector to solve real-world competitive deficiencies. With experience attracting foreign and domestic investment in the United States through increased industry efficiency, Mark understands the importance of supply chain optimization as a key component. He is the key point of contact for MEP Centers across the country, acting as liaison for outreach and development for the MEP SCO program. Mark can be reached at His full bio may be viewed here.

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"MEP has put together an intelligent program that was well thought out and challenging for supply chain management team. They challenged our supply chain approach and current paradigm – forcing us to take a fresh look at what we do and how we do it. We are using the supply chain strategy tools that they provided as “take-aways” to change how we do things."


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