Category Archives: Center of Expertise

Reactive/Proactive

As I speak to supply chain audiences, I focus on key messages that are important, but sometimes forget where they came from. One key message I focus on is that the best supply chain organizations are not “managing by project” – they consider that a type of management failure. Continue reading

The Credibility Gap

in the course of work, I frequently meet and talk to supply chain executives, and there’s one simple question I ask frequently to see what people are thinking about: “What prevents you from being successful in your role?” Many times we get the answer, “I’m implementing X”, where X may be S&OP, ERP, some special practice, outsourcing logistics, you name it. Then I clarify: “Isn’t X really just your job? What prevents you from being successful at implementing X?” That’s a showstopper, or at least a pause-inducer. Continue reading

The Supply Chain Management Process

The late Michael Hammer of “Re-engineering the Corporation” fame put it succinctly once in a forum I attended in Philadelphia: “An imperfect process is better than no process, and a good process is best of all.” I’ve looked at many Supply Chain maturity models for companies, and some look at vendor dimension – degree of collaboration – while another may look at resource – degree of rationalization. All are based however on having a supply chain management system which evolves to progressively improve overall supply chain performance. Continue reading

Rethinking Resources

There is a gap in thinking about resources at a company level that highlights the mental block about managing supply chain for most managers. If I were to speak to managers about Human Resources, and ask them what they thought of the following situation I would get a strong response: Suppose a company’s payroll is managed independently in each functional unit: Some employees might get paid weekly, some biweekly, some monthly or perhaps twice a month. Continue reading

Metrics Always Win

Over the past two weeks I have had the pleasure of meeting with senior executives from a variety of companies in training situations where we could talk freely and discover opportunities within their businesses for improving their supply chains. SCC trainings—particularly in-house private trainings – take a practical, hands-on focus to supply chain improvement. Managers frequently leave the trainings with specific ideas and improvement programs laid out and ready to go. Continue reading

Making a List, Checking it Twice

I am frequently asked, “What is the most important thing…” in performing a particular Supply Chain Transformation program, or in different case studies. My answers vary: to wrestle with Tolstoy, “all good programs are the same; all bad programs are bad in different ways.” Over several years, my team adapted a checklist that identifies which Supply Chain Transformation programs will be successful—which corresponded to major modes of management of change: Continue reading

A Word For Your Sponsor

I had a long conversation with an Asian business team not long ago that were developing Supply Chain functions in their company, and we had a long discussion about critical success factors for enterprise-scale Supply Chain. The one I always bring up is “good sponsorship”. But they wanted to know more, and we discussed it much further, and it led me to several insights to share. Continue reading

Demanding

To paraphrase Tolstoy “All successful Supply Chain teams look the same. All struggling Supply Chain Center of Excellence (COE) teams suffer in their own unique way.” One problem I’ve seen many times is a successful Supply Chain COE team, one which is successful in strategy, process optimization, streamlining – “transformation” – tends to have demand which very quickly outstrips their ability to perform work. Our team at HP grew in demand from 4 to 10 to 20 to 200 (sound of a faint explosion in the distance). Even with a well-performing team of 10-20 people, before there was a huge demand, we struggled with one critical thing: planning. Continue reading