Category Archives: Center of Expertise

Growing Up

Many years ago (September, 1994) I read an Scientific American article “Software’s Chronic Crisis” with interest – my job at the time being precisely “Software Development”. The article introduced me to “CMM” (Capability Maturity Model) in software development, as an aid to improving software to avoid the inevitable ‘crisis’. “Maturity” here didn’t connote age (there are certainly very old IT organizations I’ve worked in I would hardly call ‘mature’) but rather ‘well developed’. Continue reading

The Great Convergence

I spoke at a conference last November in San Diego, about different supply chain management techniques and how the “compete” with each other. What impressed me at the conference was that after years of discussion around Six-Sigma, SCOR, LEAN and other approaches, people are now completely accepting true ‘convergence’ and ‘condensation’ around supply chain process work, and understanding the proper place of different methodologies within overall change management. Continue reading

Just Doing It

Recently we were running a segment of our design workshops for generating and managing Supply Chain Center of Excellence (COE) organizations for a large European company, and in defining their standard COE processes, we discussed with one sub-team what were their deployment strategies for projects. I was met with a kind of blank look, “deployment strategy?” Continue reading

Stamp of Approval

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

Keep On Keeping On

Someone told me a bad joke this morning “How is Winnie the Pooh like Jack the Ripper”… They both share the same middle name. In Six-Sigma “DMAIC” or “DMADV”, there are five distinct phases of work, in what my company uses there is “SCADD”, or five distinct phases of work, in SCOR there are five distinct phases, in many methodologies there are 4, 5, 6 phases of work… and they all somewhat share the same ‘middle’ name, or analysis. I’ve written before here about not getting locked in ‘analysis paralysis’ by focusing on designing an analysis plan to answer a question, usually a question about what is a root-cause issue in business performance which doesn’t meet a requirement. However, finding a root-cause issue is not the same as solving the problem, and that’s the focus of my interest today. Continue reading

It Depends

The promise of Supply Chain re-engineering, like other management techniques, is the promise of a kind of business utopia where your business is growing, reducing costs, and simultaneously improving performance, all in a wonderfully self-optimizing system. Business people, however, are frequently rational, and to a rational business person, this utopian promise sounds a bit too good to be true. If you want to build up confidence in a supply chain center of expertise (COE) group, I’d suggest you try different tactics. A utopian solution is too hard to sell. Continue reading

What Are Your Standards?

After speaking at a Six Sigma conference I was asked what my definition of what supply chain management is and how it differs from Lean Six Sigma. The topic of my presentation was how to identify important change programs. I am not sure what exact wording I used but I must have first stated that I am not a Lean Six Sigma expert, only a Six Sigma customer, but my observation was that Six Sigma did not seem to use standards. My definition must have included process measurement, modeling and change planning.

For me supply chain management started 5 years ago with a request to join a group of individuals traveling to Minneapolis who were going to be trained in SCOR. The training experience was both positive and negative. The positive aspect was and remains the standard definitions for processes and metrics. As a former reporting manager I have spend many meetings explaining why we adopted a certain set of metrics and then sat through the arguments of what the definition should be according to such-and-such. Today whenever somebody asks the question how to measure an aspect of the supply chain the response is simple:  Continue reading