A system is a whole that contains two or more parts, each of which can affect the properties or behavior of the whole [..]. The second requirement of the parts of a system is that none of them has an independent effect on the whole. How any part affects the whole depends on what other parts are doing. [..] A system is a whole that cannot be divided into independent parts.
Supply chain is a system, in the purest sense as defined by Russell Ackoff. Approaching supply chains through systems thinking is critical to not entirely miss the point. Most practitioners do it instinctively. However, most academic treatments of the supply chain entirely miss the point.
There are three different ways of treating a problem. One is absolution. That's the way we trust most problems. You ignore it and you hope it'll go away or solve itself. [..] Problem resolution is a way of treating a problem where you dip into the past and say what have we done in the past that suggest we can do in the present that would be good enough. [..] There is something better to do a problem than solving it and it's dissolving it [..] by redesigning the system that has it so that the problem no longer exits.
Dissolving problems is incredibly powerful. A decade ago, Lokad (mostly) dissolved the forecasting accuracy problem through probabilistic forecasting. Instead of struggling with inaccurate forecasts we embraced the irreducible uncertainty of the future, hence mostly dissolving the accuracy problem (not entirely, but to a large extend).