The IT Supply Chain in Reverse
Physical supply chains often operate in reverse when they need to send faulty products, for example, back to an OEM for repair. Dell, again, is an example of a firm with a highly effective reverse logistics program. It is more difficult to conceptualize what reverse logistics might look like in an IT supply chain. Reverse logistics in IT recognizes that over time the server or storage capacity assigned to a particular process or user may become increasingly underutilized or surplus to requirements.
If supply chains that move physical goods such as PCs, auto parts, or sneakers can be re-engineered for superior performance, so can the IT supply chain. The cost of retaining an ineffective and unresponsive IT supply chain represents a serious drag on companies finances. Managing the IT supply chain end-to-end, transparently and with everyone in the chain engaged with the information they need for sound decision making, is an important step towards reengineering the supply chain and delivering enhanced service levels.
Paul Tallon is an assistant professor of Information Systems at the Carroll School of Management, Boston College and a GlassHouse Technologies advisory board member.