What your Dad can teach you about effective supply chain

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Co-author: Alvaro Fernandez

Happy Father’s Day to all those hardworking dads out there! Ever notice how your dad’s advice always seems to come from a place of experience? He’ll always let you make your own mistakes, unless he’s already made those same mistakes himself. In honor of these dads' accomplishments in the field of trial and error, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 lessons your dad can teach you about supply chain. 10. First pants, then shoes – Whether you’re getting dressed for work or increasing your supply chain maturity, it’s important not to get too far ahead of yourself. Make sure your supply chain solutions help you excel at each capability as you progress through the maturity model. 9. Know the risk – Ex. In principle, just-in-time processes are very efficient. You get to hold on to your hard earned money for longer, you don’t have to store extra inventory, and your workspace isn’t cluttered with things you don’t need yet. In practice, these high rewards comes with high risk. Dads have learned this the hard way by applying this approach to things like anniversary gifts, anniversary cards, and sorry-I-missed-our-anniversary flowers. It’s important to understand the risks in your supply chain, and to have the right mitigation strategies in place. 8. Never trust the salesman – As the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Save yourself the hassle and choose proven and recognized solutions. 7. Waste-not, want-not – Have you ever seen dad eating that leftover turkey sandwich piled up with layers of creamed-onions, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce? Or finding inventive ways to use up that bulk purchase of 200 cans of tomato soup? He’s treating that excess inventory as delicious opportunity instead of a liability. 6. Always use the right tool for the job – You wouldn’t put a screw in with a hammer, so why would you plan with an execution system? Hacksaws are great for small jobs, and the same goes for spreadsheets! Know the limitations of your supply chain solutions, and make sure you invest in the right tools for the job. 5. Don’t waste time fixing lemons – Sometimes replacement is the best option. Don’t hesitate to abandon projects that have failed, as some problems just can’t be fixed. Maybe you’ve inherited a clunky planning system? You’ve got the talent to fix the problems you see, but it’s going to take years, and your company just doesn’t have that kind of time. Good bet you haven’t found all the problems yet either… 4. Know what you need – How many times have you gotten partway through a home improvement project and realized you don’t have the materials you need for the next step. You make a quick trip the hardware store, get home, and realize you forgot the glue! Combining supply chain planning with integrated project management tools can save you time and money by ensuring you make one trip to the hardware store instead of seven! 3. Don’t rely on the instructions – Just like your dad, you learn way more from your mistakes than from doing things by the book. While it’s important to know and understand industry best practices, they’re not always going to be tailored to suit your particular needs. If an industry recognized ‘best practice’ feels like a step backwards for you, don’t hesitate to use your experience to build something configured for your requirements. 2. Measure twice, cut once – Wouldn’t it be nice to know that board will fit before making your cut? The best planning systems allow you to simulate your changes before committing them, so you can see exactly what impact they’ll have. Something looks wrong? Back to the drawing board before making the final decision. 1. And finally, what’s the number one lesson your dad can teach you about supply chain? Go ask mom!

 I’d like to thank fellow dad Alvaro Fernandez for sharing his failures experience while co-authoring this post. What can you or your dad teach us about supply chain? Please share in the comments below.

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