I recently finished reading Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, a quick walk through the history of the last 13,000 years of human society, and I was intrigued by the parallels between his section on the development of written language, and how Supply Chain seems to be progressing with frameworks. The section of his book that deals with language stresses the importance of having written language to administer large human organizations –empires, kingdoms, nations, etc.
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
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