SCOR Model: Efficiency mapping educational processes

Supply Chain Council, Inc. (2010). Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) Model Overview          Version 10.0. Retrieved from

When thinking of a supply chain, most people outside of a manufacturing industry don’t quite know what this means. Supply chain, at its most basic form, is essentially the chain of events that lead to the production of a product, inclusive of delivery to a customer. The customer could be anyone from a grocery store to an individual depending on the product. Within the supply chain process, many firms and organizations have different ways in which they approach the production of their product. As our society has evolved, supply chains have begun to encompass other “products” including digital products as well as services (items without tangible products). Supply chain has become a function in firms, large and small, encompassing different processes, procedures and tactics.

With that in mind, many organizations began to develop set guidelines as good benchmarks for supply chain. One of those is the Supply Chain Council (SCC). The SCC was founded in 1969 as a consortium of organizations focused on peer-led research and analysis of the supply chain industry and what best practices could be developed for organizations.  Since 1969, SCC has continued to evolve and grow, including new organizations in their scope and research. One major outcome of the establishment of the SCC was the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model, which is the “world’s most widely accepted framework for evaluating and comparing supply chain activities and their performance” (SCC, 2010, p. 2).  Now in version 10, the SCOR model has continued to serve as a benchmark for many firms. Professors within W. P. Carey that teach supply chain have referenced this many times in conversation with our students.  The benchmarking allows firms to easily understand what may or may not be working or what direction the firm would need to go to make a specific process or action work with company strategies, particularly as it may compare to the performance of other firms (SCC, 2010, p. 3)

From a visual perspective, the model looks like:


At the most basic level, the model considers the different stakeholders (supplier’s supplier, supplier, the organization, customer both internal and external and then customers of those customers). This is then broken into the basic functions that go into those relationships and then aligned with planning (SCC, 2010, p. 4). By following this model, SCOR should solve 5 key challenges:

  • Superior Customer Service: right product for the right price at the right time
  • Cost Control
  • Planning and Risk Management
  • Supplier/Partner Relationship Management
  • Talent

By solving those challenges and implementing the model, firms should be able to better launch services or products, have better linked processes to strategies, clearer direction for organizational growth and other benefits (SCC, 2010, p. 4). The model is further designed to better provide metrics and data that can be used to recognize trends and other organizationally important information (SCC, 2010, p. 6).

With the application to education in mind, although we are not producing a product per se, higher education institutions provide an array of services to support individuals through their educational experience. Many of the supply chain challenges listed above are directly applicable to higher education as we seek to provide value-added and outstanding service, cost control to our processes, better planning and risk management, relationship management (from vendors to federal groups to organizations to individuals) as well as attraction and development of talent (whether it be attracting top learners to top administrators and faculty). As institutions, we need to think of how we can improve our own processes and programs in the face of increasing competition, whether it be other institutions, professional organizations or even internally between programs. Competitiveness will not go away and the more that technology evolves, the more opportunity individuals will have to connect to knowledge from institutions in different parts of the world.

In direct application to graduate business programs within W. P. Carey, I see a correlation between some of the founding principles of this model and process improvement. Business schools are continuously evaluated on their performance, their outcomes and their rankings. It is a continuous battle to remain as a top tier school so approaches that could help add value to what the school can do become of the utmost importance. The biggest challenge here will be aligning this model to processes and strategies as well as getting buy-in from all key stakeholders who must help make change happen.

In other posts, I have reviewed different models and approaches to how supply chain principles could have value for higher education institutions. The SCOR model sets a good baseline for where supply chain models can go and in what ways they may add impactful improvements to a process chain. Supply chain models seem to reflect that as many elements of the SCOR model seem to crop up in other models that exist.

Overall, the document comes across very technical as you would expect for a process model guide but the design and integration aspects are easily displayed and explained to help firms understand. The document, being a founding model, does not reference other work but does build upon its own growth through its versions by continuously improving upon the process. What is most helpful about the document is that it does come at the approach from a general perspective. Although no application examples are provided using an industry, I feel this will allow firms to best think of how this could work within the organization and the strategic direction of that organization.

The SCOR model presents a good catalyst for higher education organizations for consideration in change. By looking outside education to other industry examples, higher education may find innovations that were not considered before that allow them to create sustainable, innovative, creative and engaging processes, experiences and organizations. Doing so should offer the opportunity for continued growth and success.

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Joel Dupuis

Program Development Manager at W. P. Carey School of Business Executive Education with 10 years experience in higher education. Originally from Canada but have lived in the US for the last five years.

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