If you're reading this, chances are you've either lived through a supply chain solution implementation project, you're considering one, or perhaps you've lived through a less-than-successful project and are simply curious.
The supply chain and software industries have several high-profile awards and distinctions. We, along with our customers, have been fortunate to win many over the years. There is another award program that is very special to us, our SAILS Award.
A few years back I started supplementing my penchant for marathons and triathlons with mountain bike riding. A mountain bike is a specially designed bicycle that you take out into the wild to traverse all sorts of rugged and crazy terrain.
I’m only an amateur, at best, but like every new endeavor it’s fun to learn something new and it’s fun to draw parallels to different disciplines.
When I was working with finite scheduling systems in the 90’s I was struck by how “video game-like” some of the systems were. Unscheduled work orders fell from the sky, were grabbed by the planner, manipulated, and fit into the open slots of the production schedule. It reminded me of Space Invaders or Tetris. The elements were all there. The urgent work orders came in, planners frantically manipulated them into the schedule trying heroically not to violate constraints (lose points) and achieve the most efficient output (high score). [..]
As an alternative to playing the discount game and further eroding margins, many retailers have found tremendous success with private label products. By offering innovative goods at a reasonable cost, retailers have successfully distinguished their brands and helped engender consumer loyalty. This is a sound strategy, but it can easily backfire if the supply chain infrastructure is not in place to support it.
What do you want to achieve? Where does your company want to be in 12, 18, 24 months? Do you know? If you don’t know where you are headed, any road will take you there. How will you know what success looks like? In today’s uncertain times, a clear vision and strategy of where you need to be is the key to rally the company and propel your business forward; forward into new markets, new geographies and ahead of your competition. Success lies in the ability for your company’s stakeholders to tie your goals, strategy and execution into a single, measurable plan.
Recently, we were asked by the management of a manufacturer to help them assess why inventory levels were so high and trending upward. We went to the manufacturing plant to survey the scene, to see if we could determine the root cause of their inventory problem.
Clue #1: The earnest young materials manager we interviewed stated, “We don’t have any inventory. We only buy and make what our customers order.”
There was a major disconnect here. This gentleman was telling me they had no inventory, but I had a corporate controller with a balance sheet stating in black and white they had too much inventory.
Every generation has its thought leaders. Mine had Stephen Covey and The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.
Hearing of Stephen’s death this week I looked at my bookcase to see a copy of his seminal work. While I believe I gave the original copy away, his work was so powerful I made the effort to pick up another copy. This is one of the few books that I thought important enough to have its physical presence near me through all the office cleaning campaigns. There are not many works one can say that about.
Why are phrases such as “especially in the current economy” so in vogue in everything from analyst research to white papers and presentations? The phrase has become part of our lexicon, but that baffles me because we’re not just in the ‘current economy’—we are moving forward in an ever-changing, global economy.[..]
Sorting out the balance between standardization and quality
User: “Corporate is pushing a non-functional system on us. We’ll have to do more work, our costs will go through the roof and we’ll lose customers…don’t they realize this will be a huge step backward for us? Are they nuts?”
Exec: “These users are being total luddites, digging in their heels and dragging their feet. Don’t they realize the savings in efficiencies this corporate system will bring? It’s like they’re trying to put us out of business. Are they nuts?”