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ASCM Insights

20 Years of SCOR: Reflections on Relevancy and the Road Ahead


Next month, Delta Airlines says that I will cross the 2 million mile mark; while not a badge of honor it does afford the time to think and write. Recently, I was thinking about the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model and how for the past 20 years it has flexed, grown and graduated to become the go-to supply chain model framework for companies, including those in the Gartner Top 25, Global 2000 and the Sustainable 100. So I decided to write about SCOR.

Looking Back

My journey with SCOR began when I was a delegate from 3M (and then its spin-off Imation) as part of the launch of SCOR 1.0 in 1996. My first SCOR project was to build the business case and then design, develop, pilot, and rollout Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP or, for you SCOR enthusiasts, Plan Supply Chain) globally across 20 or so business units using Manugistics bolted onto an Oracle 10.7 ERP platform. 

At the time, we needed to define key performance indicators that balanced customer requirements with internal capabilities; architect processes to leverage the technology; adopt practices that were more than just white papers; and develop people to have both the knowledge and skills to make it all happen and move the needle of performance and achieve the promised ROI.

Where We Are Today 

Roll the clock forward twenty years to last month. I was discussing a SCOR project with one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies. Their challenge was how to extend to their supply base, investments made in their same-day delivery capability; forecasting and replenishment algorithms driven by their artificial intelligence capability; and product lifecycle management capability driven by their dynamic pricing solution. Their premise is that a trading partner community can only run as fast as the slowest member.

We determined (with amazing symmetry) that we needed to define key performance indicators inherent in their platform and make it dynamically available to the supply base; architect collaborative planning processes that could take advantage of the forecasting, replenishment, and pricing capability; shift targeted best practices from 2D to 3D based on real-time feedback loops; and focus on people, developing new supply chain competencies both within their supplier development team and with targeted roles within their supply base. At the end of the discussion, I was asked to comment on a paper recently published suggesting that SCOR and S&OP are dead.

SCOR is Very Much Alive and Kicking #$%@!!

Over 5,000 companies have leveraged SCOR as part of their supply chain excellence journey. Innovations in each of the 11 versions of the reference model were driven by practitioners challenged with having to model the future while delivering business value in the present. We’re now three years into the APICS and Supply Chain Council merger and our practitioner community is once again sorting out how to innovate SCOR to model a faster set of changes enabled by amazing technology advancements – all the while delivering quarter over quarter results.

Looking Ahead: The Future of SCOR

Is SCOR dead? To answer the question and continue the metaphor, SCOR has a continuous cycle of rebirth and renewal. We’ll be laying the current version to rest when we release our new, twentieth anniversary edition of SCOR later this year. In the meantime, the companies that use SCOR will continue to elevate their supply chain and business performance – check out our latest case study.

Look for an exciting announcement about the new edition of SCOR from APICS soon!

About the Author

Peter A. Bolstorff Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, ASCM

Peter A. Bolstorff, CSCP, SCOR-P, is executive vice president of corporate development at ASCM.

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