Syndrome 1: You’ve developed a beautiful supply chain process model, metrics model, with depth and subtlety that allows you to probe with anything from automated software, to six-sigma statistics, is easy-to-explain to executives and has that rare power to illuminate business rather than merely describe. You team performs analysis, and begins redesigning processes to be more efficient and effective, and… when you work with process owners, they look at the starting process and ask the hated question “What’s this? I don’t recognize this…”. Continue reading
One of the big mistakes teams make with capturing supply chains when they’re using reference frameworks is to make sincere attempts to force business process ‘subject experts’ to use their reference language to describe their processes. Imagine going to a doctor, and the doctor handing you a list of ailments, and asking you to describe your problem in medical language – “hey doc, I’ve got mild diffuse neuralgia in the upper left gluteus”. Continue reading
I have a certain fondness for reading about mathematics. One topic that I find especially interesting concerns the “great unsolved problems” in mathematics. A good example is Fermat’s Last Theorem. Fermat conjectured that there are no whole-number solutions for the equation
an + bn = cn,
where a, b, c, and n are all integers. I don’t lay awake at night thinking about such problems, but it is interesting to read about the various strategies mathematicians have attempted as they struggled to solve these problems.
I think there are also a handful of “great unsolved problems” in Supply Chain process management which are very simple to state, painfully difficult to solve, and, if completely solved, would radically change the entire field. Continue reading
You know, I like a sexy powerpoint presentation as much as the next person, with nice graphics, well-thought out visuals, and chewy data. I’m a fan of Tufte, and of McLuhan, and always looking to better how I convey information. But there’s a problem which lurks in supply chain improvement efforts, and my team has to stress over and over to ‘the beginners’: the point of the project is not to create beautiful models, but to improve business performance. Continue reading