Reaching best in class. Stage Five of a five stage supply chain model. You all want to get there. Let’s discuss this from a practitioner’s view point.
Yes, we are talking about the supply chain planning system of record. The market is confused with terms; end-to-end, control tower, IBP, concurrent planning, integrated supply chain and planning systems of record. What really matters is what we are trying to achieve.
It has to start with the people.
Step One: The Right Talent
There has been a lot of discussion on this topic. It can’t be overlooked. In my years of experience in the industry and working with software, people are still the difference makers. The supply chain has changed. Increased volatility, more complex supply chains, more competition, and big data.
Supply chain talent must understand and be able to interpret big data but solving problems still requires people collaborating to evaluate tradeoffs. Today’s unpredictability is less deterministic.
Collaboration is at the Core of the Talent Requirement
Morten Hansen, who wrote the book ‘Collaboration’, refers to T-shaped managers. People who can perform their own individual work very well (the vertical part of the T) and also contribute effectively across the organization (the horizontal part of the T). In the supply chain world I translate that to mean T-shaped people have the ability to collaborate across the vertical silos (order fulfillment, demand planning, supply planning, inventory planning, logistics, S&OP) to ensure that decisions made are directionally correct. Thinking deep and broad.
Leaders Need a Good Vision
Also required are visionary leaders. An overused term, but they are truly distinguishable and required for any company to reach stage five in any maturity model. Visionary leaders encourage innovative people, processes and tools.
They recognize that the supply chain has changed. There is an opportunity now to:
- assimilate mass amounts of data
- problem solve through tradeoff analysis across the globe
- empower their people with configurable software than encourages innovation
What about company culture?
Over the years I have worked with literally hundreds of companies and have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of supply chain leaders. Those that have been most successful in their supply chain transformation are those that are well informed, not afraid to take calculated risk, they encourage input, dialog and collaboration but provide direction. They are able to find the fine line between collaboration and decision making. They make the complex look simple.
There Has to Be a Healthy Balance Between Business and IT Leaders
The best supply chain transformations involve a healthy, respectful collaboration between Business and IT. Weak supply chain leaders cite IT as a barrier to success and weak IT leaders think they know what is best for the business.
I’ll never forget the time when an account executive I was working with felt like his life was in danger because the CIO of this multinational company was SO SO angry that the business was unhappy with their existing software and the CIO couldn’t accept the fact that it wasn’t working. It was definitely transferred aggression!
Employee Satisfaction Must Part of the Supply Chain Goals
I am fortunate to have worked with many successful companies. I met Avaya many years ago when they were still struggling with fulfilling orders to quoted leadtimes. They are much more demand driven now and have recently had some great success in their supply chain transformation. It is not a coincidence that they are just as much focused on employee satisfaction as they are on bottom line improvement. If you’d like to learn more about Avaya’s supply chain transformation, check out this recent case study published by Aberdeen Group.
You are probably wondering when I am going to more specifically discuss the supply chain planning system of record. Stay tuned for step two.
Looking for more information about Supply Chain Planning System of Record? Check out the rest of the series!