It's time for a revolution of the supply chain kind

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There have been some pretty significant revolutions throughout history. The French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the Chinese cultural revolution – just to name a few. Well, today I’m going to talk about the need for another revolution. A supply chain planning systems revolution. Will it be the stuff that future historians drool over or universities base curriculums on? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m going to discuss it anyway, because for those of us living in a supply chain world, it’s big deal. The world is changing – new technology, globalization, shifting markets, changing demographics, global warming – you get the idea. So while everything’s been changing around us, why hasn’t supply chain planning evolved to any great extent?

Times Haven’t Changed

Across the supply chain, functions and processes still operate in silos. Excel spreadsheets remain the number one way companies manage supply chain data (go figure). Current planning systems simply aren’t designed to deliver the speed and agility needed to deal with the complexity and risks associated with today and tomorrow’s supply chain.

You Say You Want a Revolution

The time has come to adopt new operating models that make data visible across functional and organizational boundaries. The time has come for a revolution. We need supply chain planning that allows new insights to be formed and acted upon, and puts decision power into the hands (picture a fist raised in revolt) of an organization’s front line. We need a structural change in how supply chain planning is performed. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Yves Morieux in particular, describes the drawbacks of current operating models, which are based on functional expertise with little interface between roles.

“The real battle is not competitors. This is rubbish, very abstract. When do we meet competitors to fight them? The real battle is against ourselves, against our bureaucracy, our complicatedness – only you can fight it.

Many organizations respond to increasing complexity by creating more overlays, procedures, structures, and scorecards. But these outdated methods lead businesses to spend more time managing work and less time focusing on the important activities that actually add value.”[1]

The key point Morieux is making is that we need cooperation across the supply chain network. We need a model that allows data, processes, and people to simultaneously work together to power the entire supply network. Now, no one ever said changing an operation model is a simple exercise, but it’s definitely a necessary step required to revolutionize planning and bring supply chain planning systems into the future. How about you? Are you ready to revolutionize your supply chain planning? Not sure? I invite you to check out our white paper Supply Chain Planning 4.0: Planning Revolutionized to learn more. _______________________________________ [1]

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