10 Greatest Supply Chain Management Books of All Time

Supply chain management books that are praised by supply chain executives, consultants and supply chain management professionals at all levels.

In Search of the Best Supply Chain Management Books
We've found that most book recommendations on the web are based on just personal opinion. In the publishing industry, Nielsen BookScan is the most widely used database for a book ranking method. In short, Nielsen provides the point of sales data from various retail outlets and gross sales quantity will be summarized. Anyway, the access to this database costs an arm and a leg. Therefore, the challenge to establish the ranking method is to find a more economical data source and unbiased metric.

Book Ranking

Data Collection
We're sure some of you've been using Google Scholar to find related publications. As you may notice, the search results will always show a number of citations or how many times each publication is referred by other publications. Based on this information, the ranking of 10 greatest books of all time can be identified as below,

- We perform the search queries in Google Scholar

- About 1,000 search results are displayed

- Number of citations of each book are collected

- Only books visible in Google Scholar are qualified

- If a particular book has more than one record, only a record from the most current or most cited editions will be selected

- Only highly relevant books will be listed (books discuss algorithms extensively are not included here, books about purchasing are not included here either)

- Obsolete and out-of-print books are not included

- Editor's decision is used to finalize the list

Interesting Statistics
While conducting this survey, We've found some interesting statistics that we would like to share as below,

- Number of Citations: the reason the citation count is used to determine the impact of each book is so simple. The content is good then people refer to it often (number of citations are also used to measure the importance of journal articles aka Impact Factor). Our personal observation is that scholarly articles cite books because most books present building block concepts and citations usually appear in the literature review section. Anyway, how often scholarly articles cite top books on the list? Most books got about 1,000 citations on average. This may appear to be a bit low when compared with books in other disciplines such as marketing. But we believe this is pretty normal because everyone can cite marketing books, but not everyone will cite supply chain management books.

- Author Affiliations: authors of top books on our list are the university professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Michigan State University, Stanford University, Northwestern University the University of California at Berkley, Indiana University and Cranfield University (UK). These universities produce outstanding SC research and some of them are from top supply chain management program in the United States. Some authors are from leading supply chain consulting companies.

- Country: the interesting thing we've found is that the United States appears to be the powerhouse in supply chain management. How about its counterpart in Europe? Professor Martin Christopher and Professor Remko Van Hoek are European professors who manage to be on the top list. They've published many supply chain management related articles in top journals.

- Year of Publication: some people may feel that the use of a number of citations to do the ranking is the drawback because an older book will have the edge over a newer book (older books have the opportunity to get cited more). However, statistics say that it is not true. Some new books also manage to get into the top list as below, Anyway, all books on the list have been updated via the reprint edition. So there is no question if they are still relevant to the current business environment.

- Number of Copies in WorldCat Library System: we also check how well each book performs by looking into WorldCat Library System. What we see is that librarian staffs tend to buy shorter books more than standard textbooks. The assumption behind this is that college students will buy textbooks anyway so there is no need to have a copy in the library.

Integration of supply chain management processes requires the good planning, implementing and controlling skills both within and across the companies to reduce cost and improve service. Modern supply chain management organization needs people who can put theory into practice and turn the ideas into the reality. So we hope this post will be a good resource for your future career endeavors.