Control Tower Concepts: Putting the focus on the "People" in "People, Process, and Technology"

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To create and sustain change, the discussion has revolved around people, process and technology (software in this case) since the beginning of the information age.  What is interesting about this discussion is that almost all of the focus and discussion surrounds the process and the software, or at best, talks about each of these as equally important cornerstones of the equation. Stepping back from the triad, and taking an objective view, the process and software pieces only really exist to make people more effective.  To go a step further, the process and software should exist to make the people work together more effectively.  You can think of this as the promise of collective intelligence of an enterprise.  In "executive speak", you can think of this as fulfilling the promise of having the entire organization actually executing the strategy across all functions, on behalf of the organization as a whole. Collapsing planning and execution (real-time response management to deviations from the plan) into a single integrated process and breaking down the silos between various functions, departments, and trading partners, are key tenets of an enterprise control tower solution. Andy Coldrick, working with Dick Ling, advanced Dick’s original definition and process of S&OP in the 1990’s to introduce the concept of integrated reconciliation – the key to driving the cross-functional, collaborative process at the heart of successful S&OP.  In the past decade, they have advanced an implementation methodology to drive cross-functional collaboration to truly allow strategic and sales and operations planning to become an execution-driven activity. Andy and I will be presenting a blueprint for enabling people to realize the promise of strategy execution on Tuesday, December 13th. 


Jim Ashmore
- December 10, 2011 at 12:18pm
To me, this concept goes several layers deeper than this. We can focus on people, but it really starts by getting the right people, with the right skills into the right place. The process and technology don't matter if the people are not Supply Chain Professionals.

Frankly, it starts with human resources and selecting people. Next is training them in the hard skills of Supply Chain Management and problem solving. There are also soft skills such as working across silos from Procurement, Manufacturing, Transportation, Sales, Marketing and (most importantly) Business Management.

I have not seen selection criteria and methods for "procuring" and developing the right Supply Chain Professionals. I have had to work from the ground up and develop them myself. It has been a trial and error process with some amount of randomness in who is a success and who is a failure.

Lastly, the organization must be right. If you have a disjointed Supply Chain organization that reports through the wrong structure, then the incentives will be wrong and the results counterproductive. For instance, if the Planner reports to the Plant Manager, production runs will be long and inventory high. Likewise, if there is a separate Procurement organization whose incentives are getting the cheapest price, product quality and poor delivery are often the result.

So, the "people" part of People, Process and Technology is the key to success of Supply Chain Management. Get that right, and your are 75% of the way there.

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