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Over the span of a decade, the SC2020 Project went through four different phases, each one geared towards the exploration of a particular set of questions or the development of given tasks. These phases have been conducted under the guidance of three Directors.

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the Supply Chain 2020 Project focused on understanding excellent supply chains. It involved identifying and researching the organizations that drive today’s successful supply chains in a broad range of industries, with the aim of understanding the evolving business strategies, operating models, practices and principles that are responsible for driving improved performance. The working hypothesis that drove the research during Phase 1 presumed that an excellent supply chain has the following characteristics:

  • Supports and enhances the strategy of the business, as well as being an integral part of the overall design of the business.
  • Embodies a complementary (not necessarily unique) operating model that creates competitive advantage.
  • Emphasizes high-performance execution, where performance is defined by a balanced set of business-relevant objectives or metrics.
  • Leverages a tailored (small) set of business practices that support the above. These business practices are consistent, reinforcing and cross-optimized.

Completed in 2005, Phase 1 was conducted under the direction of Dr Larry Lapide. Its findings are presented in the theses and publications of 2005.

Phase 2

Phase 2 included a detailed investigation of the supply chain principles work which was initiated in Phase 1.  Phase II also saw the creation of the first version of the three macro factors scenarios of the world from the supply chain point of view, namely Alien Nations, Spin City, and Synchronicity.  These scenarios were developed to facilitate the supply chain strategy development process using the SC2020 Strategy Alignment framework and excellent supply chain characteristics identified in Phase 1. Phase 2 research resulted in five Masters theses and two working papers in addition to the Advisory council proceedings.

Completed in 2006, Phase II was conducted under the direction of Dr Larry Lapide and Dr Mahender Singh. Its findings are presented in the theses and publications of 2006.

Phase 3

Phase 3 of the project focuses heavily on the refinement of the Scenario Planning methodology and supply chain strategy development process. Based on the ideas generated in Phases 1 and 2 of the project, the SC2020 got involved in collaborative management research projects on supply chain strategy at large companies. Key deliverables include recommendations for supply chain managers in the partner firms, but also the examination and documentation of the methods employed, in order to derive a methodological toolkit.

Phase 3 is still under way. It was directed between 2006 and 2011 by Dr Mahender Singh, and from then until 2015 by Dr Roberto Perez-Franco.

Phase 4

Phase 4 of the project focuses on producing a formal and detailed documentation of the methodology distilled from the SC2020 projects, so that it can be applied by third parties. Started concurrently with Phase 3 back in 2010, under the direction of Dr Mahender Singh, Phase 4 dominated the SC2020 efforts between 2012 and 2015, under the direction of Dr Roberto Perez-Franco.

Directors of the SC2020 Project

Dr Larry Lapide was director of the SC2020 Project from its launch until mid 2006. He is Lecturer at the College of Management, University of Massachusetts: Boston Campus, and Research Affiliate at MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL). He has over 30 years of experience in industry, consulting, research, and academia. He also worked at AMR Research, Accenture, and Data General and holds a Ph.D. in OR from the Wharton School.

Dr Mahender Singh served as director of the MIT Supply Chain 2020 Project for five years, from mid 2006 to Oct 2011. Currently he is Rector at the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation and Executive Director of the MIT Global SCALE Network in Asia.  He received his Ph.D. in Operations Research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Dr Roberto Perez-Franco is a Research Associate at MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, where he currently serves as Director of the MIT Supply Chain 2020 Project. He has an Engineering degree from Panama’s Technological University, a Masters in Logistics (2004) from MIT, and a PhD in Engineering Systems (2010) from MIT.