Wicked Problems

I came across the term “wicked problem” in the text that I am using for my SNHU course International Supply Chain Management.* A wicked problem involves multiple stakeholders, each with different interests and values. As a result there is no single common goal , no clear mission, and no universal solution. Any solution, after being implemented, will generate waves of consequences and can result in making the problem worse.¬† A suggested framework for tackling a wicked problem consists of 4 levels of increasing complexity:

Level 1- Process Engineering and inventory management– This is the engineering approach focusing on what is being carried (work, cash, information) and process design within and between organizations. Risk management is about improved visibility and control.
Level 2- Assets and Infrastructure- This is the insurance and financial approach. Nodes and links are examined and strengthened to avoid disruptions along the supply chain.
Level 3- Organizations and Inter-organizational networks– this is strategic level problem solving involving outsourcing, partnering, and offshoring.

Level 4- the Macro Environment- This level uses PEST  (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological) analysis of environmental changes. Issues include green and legal/regulatory as well as geo political factors.

Fortunately, not all logistics problems are wicked problems. If you need help with international logistics contact Ad Hoc Logistics.

*Global Logistics & Supply Chain Management by John Mangan, Chandra Lalwani, Tim Butcher, and Roya Javadpour