Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Matt Benson

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Continuing with our ‘Learn from the Masters’ series, which features answers to your burning supply chain-related questions from our talented business consultants, we bring you the Brit – Matt Benson. Matt has been with Kinaxis nearly a year and has more than 25 years of senior supply chain management experience. He is currently based across the pond in the UK. How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here? At my first company, I was responsible for operations planning and our 1970’s ERP system (Impcon) wasn’t Y2K compliant – In 1999 I was seeing planned orders being generated for 1949 year dates! I was part of a small team that then implemented MFGPRO, I got the ‘implementation bug’ and that eventually lead me to supply chain software vendors. (Kinaxis being the most recent and easily the greatest, obviously!) What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned? It’s difficult to please everyone, all of the time. It’s a balancing act, so I’d encourage knowledge sessions with all of the supply chain players to ensure everyone understands the corporate goals – this then makes trade-off decisions easier. For example, having near 100% customer service targets may ensure a very happy customer base but the inventory cost to the company may put you out of business! If, for example, the customer service team knew about end item inventory limitations and the reasoning, it would make setting and adopting to reasonable policies much more effective and understandable. What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain? Consider your personality type and skill set - check that you have the following traits:

  • Tough negotiator
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Entrepreneurial spirit

Do something else if you don’t! If you had to name three priorities for a company looking to evolve their supply chain processes, what would they be?

  1. Do an honest appraisal of your supply chain maturity – there are tools and methods that will help you position your place on the matrix.
  2. From the maturity model, prioritize the top three improvement activities that will give you the best-perceived corporate value. Select the toolset that will assist in making the improvements.
  3. Adopt a scrum based approach and make small gradual changes (Kaizen) – before long, those small changes will add up.
If you could change your job title to a comic or superhero name that would aptly describe what you do, what name would you give yourself?

Galahad from ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ – quintessentially English but with kick-ass ability. What’s the one app on your phone that you can’t live without? Facetime – I can see my children when I’m working away from home.

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