I’ve written a number of times on trends in open source software, which I’ve argued is something of a ‘poster-child’ for new trends in production/manufacturing. I recently came across a post about the management of supply chains that discusses the trend from a more general perspective.
. . . SCM [Supply Chain Management] adds another layer of complexity to a firm’s strategy development efforts. Years ago, firms could succeed by being particularly good in one functional area, such as marketing, finance, or operations. Then firms recognized that they had to have sufficient capabilities across multiple functional areas in order to survive. Nowadays, much competition occurs between multi-firm supply chains, not just between individual firms. In addition to their debates about functional- and business-level strategies, then, managers must now address how they will partner with other firms in order to compete. [Ital. mine]
The pace of change in the business world is redirecting the gaze of businesspeople from ‘the company’ to ‘the alliance’ and reflects an even broader trend highlighted by Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations.