How Do I Start an SCRM Journey?




Gregory L. Schlegel CPIM, CSP, Jonah
Founder, The Supply Chain Risk Management Consortium (
Executive in Residence, SCRM, Lehigh University
Adjunct Professor, Enterprise Risk Management, Villanova University
Advisory Board Member, RAAD360 (maker of RAAD™, an end-to-end SCRM software platform)

This is a question we, at the SCRM Consortium, get all the time. After teaching SCRM for 6 years at Lehigh University, running 20 workshops per year, around the globe, supporting several different SCRM certificates and certifications and publishing a book on the subject, we’ve put a Roadmap together. But first, a quick-hit definition of SCRM.

From the book, Supply Chain Risk Management:  An Emerging Discipline (which I co-authored with Bob Trent), we look at SCRM like this:

“It is the implementation of strategies to manage every day and exceptional risks along the entire supply chain through continuous risk assessment with the objective of reducing vulnerability and ensuring continuity.” 

If it’s not obvious to you, this is a journey, not a point solution. Many of the SCRM exemplar companies, such as IBM, CISCO, Nokia, Ericsson, Coca Cola and many more have been exercising SCRM for over 15 years! With that said, we’ve developed an SCRM Roadmap. It’s more tactical in nature, because on this journey you are building a house, one brick at a time. (Figure below)


Our first lament is—through two years of research for the book and six years of educating and consulting, we’re still convinced that 70% of all manufacturers, around the globe, do nothing! With that said, companies who buy into the concept, basically start at Ground ZERO. Our ground zero point is—-Education. We’ll give you a sense of each building block section of the Roadmap.

  • EDUCATION (the red section of the Figure above)

    • Normally involves purchasing books, or subscribing to blogs
    • Then, perhaps attending single- or multi-day workshops on Supply Chain Risk, for example:
      • The Supply Chain Risk Management Consortium facilitates workshops for APICS’ Certificate in SCRM
      • The Logistics Institute of Canada offers a four-day workshop for Certification in SC-R, Supply Chain Resiliency
      • Lehigh University offers their own 3-day SCR&R course (Supply Chain Risk & Resiliency) culminating in a University Certificate in Supply Chain Risk & Resiliency
    • Acquiring baseline data, terms, definitions, tools, techniques and methodologies available today
  • AWARENESS (the orange section of the Figure above)
    • Involves executive sessions for companies
    • Risk Appetite and Tolerance exercises
    • Cloud-based Supply Chain Maturity/Risk Assessment Tool, to assess the company’s supply chain maturity and inherent risks (at very high level)
    • This begins the enterprise-wide dialogue about supply chain risk
  • ASSESSMENT (the yellow section of the Figure above)
    • Initiate a project to begin Identifying and Assessing all of the risks within the supply chain
    • Define and classify all the risks to the supply chain
    • Assess the risks with qualitative and quantitative methodologies, which can include supply chain mapping utilizing data-driven, end-to-end supply chain visualization platforms (such as RAAD)
    • And then prioritizing the risks and building Risk Response Plans
  • MITIGATION (the blue section of the Figure above)
    • Next – the hardest step of all – mitigating the risk! This is hard because it involves Change Management…. changing processes, procedures, policies and metrics
    • The SCRM Consortium employs many change management techniques to ensure successful change as it relates to mitigating supply chain risks
  • MANAGEMENT (the green section of the Figure above)
    • This is also a difficult section because we advocate embedding risk tools, techniques and frameworks into business decision making
    • This involves codifying risk workflows and supporting those new flows with solutions to ensure a predictable, repeatable and quality process in terms of risk management

As mentioned earlier, SCRM is a journey, not a point solution. Think of it this way:  as large and expansive as your global supply chain may be, that’s the scope and scale required for your SCRM landscape, as well.  All the best in your journey!