Is your Supply Chain Rocket Science?

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Throughout my 16-year career in IT and supply chain, most long-term employees I interact with claim they are “experts” in their supply chain. This claim is based on the fact they’ve been doing the same thing over and over again for years.

They know their supply chain. But when you ask them to explain it to you, they give you a dissertation on the complexities and intricacies of it, making it sound like rocket science.

What I have learned through my experience is just because someone has been doing the same thing for years and is efficient at doing it, doesn’t mean they are using best practices. Sure, they can get the job done, but are they extracting the right information to show the fluidity of their supply chain?

Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe there is a “magical tool” that will replace the knowledge and experience a qualified worker brings to your supply chain. In fact, I believe the human element is the most important part to a successful supply chain.

The key to success is self-evaluating, going outside the comfort zone, using the right tools and executing the plan. It’s that simple! And that complex. The best part about my job is getting the opportunity to take what I’ve learned over time and help customers merge tool set to person.

Together, we find the best way to manage their supply chain. I’ll never forget what my high school algebra teacher told the class after we complained about how hard algebra was. She said, “Stop it! It’s not about YOU and the BOOK versus ME. It’s about YOU, ME and the BOOK versus the Algebra questions.” It’s very similar in today’s supply chain environment. It’s about you, me, and the right tools versus the supply chain. It’s about working together to find the best solution to manage today’s challenges. It is YOU who now manages the supply chain, equipped with the knowledge and tools to simplify the process. The benefit is the residual gains you will discover along the way. It is a ripple effect. Your job has become streamlined, thus making someone else’s job that much easier in return.

It’s not about over-engineering your supply chain, aka rocket science. It’s about evolving and improving the supply chain over time to best fit the needs of the company. With the right tools you can re-imagine processes and prevent yourself from becoming one of those companies who does the same things over and over again.

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