The aim of this text is to develop a different approach to the study of organizational supply chains by shifting the terrain from the usual field of purchasing/operations towards a more strategic approach focusing upon customer-driven and customer-focused strategies for managing supply chains. Taking a strategic approach involves direction setting, establishing an agenda for change and allocating
resources effectively whilst simultaneously utilizing resources efficiently. To achieve these strategic objectives it is essential that organizations focus their supply chain activities to satisfy customers. Managers need to think differently about what they do and the purpose of the organization and organizational networks in satisfying demand through effective (strategic) and efficient (operational) supply chain structures, relationships and strategies. Operational thinking is pervasive in most organizations. Indeed this should come as no surprise since most managers are promoted to positions demanding strategic thinking and strategic skill from positions demanding different, important operational thinking and skill sets. In such circumstances the tendency is often to retain operational thinking without recognizing the shift required in their new roles to think strategically. The ability to think strategically and translate that thinking into operational activities likely to work in practice is an important competence for strategic development to be successful. Those managers who can successfully make the transition from operational to strategic thinkers are a very powerful force for their organization.