Abstract for: The Case for Applying Systems Thinking to Global Supply Chain Management

“Systems Thinking” is an engineering discipline that is designed to improve the performance of any type of system by leveraging the interactions that take place between its component parts. Because it focuses on the interdependencies that exist amongst the elements that comprise a system’s structure, as well as the feedback loops that occur within it, Systems Thinking is ideal for application to the field of supply chain management. Whereas the principles of Systems Thinking can be seen in supply chain simulations like “The Beer Game”, its use has not kept up with the complexities inherent to globalization. It is the objective of this paper to re-introduce Systems Thinking to global trade professionals and demonstrate how the application of its tenets to supply chain management can yield order-of-magnitude advances in operational outcomes, supplier relations, customer satisfaction, corporate citizenship and financial results.