Working life in Supply Chain can be quite tough and challenging from time to time. Especially when Supply Chains across the globe are facing high volatility in supply and demand changes from the market. To alleviate some of these challenges here are 5 tips that make life in Supply Chain more predictive and stable.

From the perspective of W. Edwards Deming : “Eighty-five percent of the reasons for failure are deficiencies in the systems and process rather than the employee. The role of management is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better.

  1. Data Driven Leadership: Besides taking care of your people and filling in boundary conditions for them, a leader nowadays must focus on building a data culture. This culture is more and more an important prerequisite to connect the gap between business purpose and business impact. Please also have look at the Data Driven Leadership article.
  2. Strategy Deployment: In order to create focus in an organisation, it is required to deploy the strategy, so each and everyone is aware of its role and personal contribution in delivering the strategic objectives. The role of leaders is to inspire an organisation about the strategy which should resonate at frontline level. Leaders should be able to explain in a simple way about the why of the strategic direction, how the process looks like going forward and what kind of objectives need to be accomplished. Never forget to keep your ears and eyes open for changing circumstances, which might lead to an adjustment of the course of your strategy!
  3. Outside-In perspective and Cross-Functional approach: Launching a strategy is about starting with the voice of the customer (e.g. Quality, On Time Delivery and Cost), enabling a more customer oriented organisation. Based on the strategic priorities, set up cross-functional improvement teams; e.g. improve your On Time Delivery together with Sales, Customer Services, Planning and Operations. A positive side effect of such an approach is better cooperation and understanding between various disciplines which are normally tend to stay inside their traditional functional silos.
  4. Digital Transformation: In the digital area, you should be careful in selecting technology since this typically comes with high (CAPEX) investment levels and requires additional people capabilities. Pick and choose the technology which will support the delivery of your strategy; e.g. Data Driven Inventory Management when Working Capital optimisation is important.
  5. Operating System : To be able to track the progress of your strategy and steer on deviations, an Operating System is crucial to have in place. This System provides a compact number of objectives, supported by KPIs at various levels in the organisation. KPIs should always be based on transactional data (e.g. customer or process orders) so they reflect the real status of your processes.

These 5 tips need customisation for each type of business situation; If you are ready to learn more and improve your Supply Chain reality, reach out and let us know!

Aart Willem de Wolf

Senior Partner

More Articles