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ASCM Insights

ASCM’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021


The past year was like no other — especially for those of us in supply chain. The Great Supply Chain Disruption changed the way plans are made; information flows; components are sourced; materials are managed; and products are manufactured, sold and delivered. Supply chain professionals used creativity and collaboration to address extraordinary product scarcity and an unprecedented labor shortage. Along the way, the chief supply chain officer emerged as a new hero, and the impact of supply chains and the people who keep them running was illuminated for all to see.

These events changed our world. And here at ASCM, our editorial staff made sure readers were able to keep pace with the evolution. We recruited and partnered with supply chain thought leaders and industry visionaries from across the globe in order to provide you with essential knowledge and insights. The following list, which was measured by the number of page views in Google Analytics, reveals the top 10 articles from 2021. Enjoy!

10. Procurement and the Polarity Puzzle by Alan Henson: Procurement managers must do more than just focus on achieving the lowest costs; they have to take into account how cost-controlling processes will affect the sustainability of their business relationships. This is where polarity management comes into play.

9. A New Perspective on Sourcing Raw Materials by Pat Bower: Frequent contributor Bower says: “There is no perfect risk-averse solution to sourcing raw materials. But COVID has cast a harsh light on the flaws in our sole-sourced and offshored approach. As a supply chain community, we should evolve the next best practice that embeds a supply chain risk management framework for sourcing.”

8. SCOR Framework Optimizes Boeing Operations by Jennifer Storelli: Boeing Co. was honored with the 2020 ASCM Award of Excellence — Learning and Development. This case study details how the company achieved this winning educational initiative.

7. 5 Reasons to Explore Alternate Suppliers by Larry Chester: Supplier consolidation has the potential to create greater risk for your company. In light of the business issues surrounding the pandemic — such as lost sales, uncertain product supply and increased banking scrutiny — it is important to evaluate those risks and strategize how to keep operations moving.

6. 4 Steps to Purposeful and Passionate Strategic Planning by Gary Smith: Longtime volunteer and ASCM author Smith believes that business strategy must connect to the organization’s purpose and passion. “When there’s passion in one’s purpose and purpose in one’s passion, business objectives reach employees, customers, partners and all stakeholders on an emotional level,” he writes. “This creates loyalty, which has value beyond price.”

5. Supply Chain Needs More Procurement Professionals, my Q&A with Mike Bunge: Research shows there is one qualified supply chain professional for every six open jobs, and this discrepancy is growing. To gain some real-world insights into how to fill this talent gap, I connected with Bunge, director of global sourcing and materials planning at Libbey Inc.

4. 10 Supply Chain Trends to Watch for in 2022 by Adam James: Getting ahead of what’s coming will enable supply chains to proactively shape a successful, sustainable future. After a rigorous process of extensive discussion and literature review, the ASCM Research, Innovation and Strategy Committee Sensing Subcommittee has compiled its top 10 trends to watch in 2022.

3. Elevate Your Forecast with Stagger Charts by Jay Heizer: Stagger charts are easily prepared and understood using a simple spreadsheet, so they lend themselves to widespread participation. They are also an effective tool for forecast evaluation and after-forecast discussions that are a necessary component of a good process.

2. A Forward-Thinking Approach to Backorders by Jake Rheude: Rheude writes: “Backorders are a double-edged sword. When handled properly, a company earns upfront payment to keep its operations running and ensure demand for resupply. However, if things go wrong, order cancellations can mount, along with growing payment processing fees and lost customers.” His article explores how to create a backorder-friendly logistics strategy.

1. Safety Stock: A Contingency Plan to Keep Supply Chains Flying by Peter King and Courtney Bigler: The top spot in 2021 went to this innovative article about safety stock. The authors provide a clear, step-by-step method to help avoid bottlenecks, stockouts and upset customers.

Think you’ve got what it takes to make the top 10 for 2022? I encourage you to share your knowledge and experience with the global supply chain community through contributed content. Learn how.

About the Author

Elizabeth Rennie Editor-in-Chief, SCM Now magazine, ASCM

Elizabeth Rennie is Editor-in-Chief at ASCM. She may be contacted at