2011 – The year for supply chain transformation?


Is it something in the water? Or are competitors eating your lunch? Fickle customers, no brand loyalty? What to do??

There appears to be a high level of interest in supply chain transformation this year. The economy is showing signs of improvement and companies are recognizing that there needs to be a renewed focus on business, technology and process improvement. Did anyone read the Wall Street Journal last week  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704858404576128531221475772.html and see the article about Nokia Corp and Chief Executive Stephen Elop’s plans to turn around the ailing handset maker? Comparing Nokia to a man standing on a burning oil platform who jumps into icy waters to escape the flames, Mr. Elop says dramatic action is needed to reverse a decline that has left the Finnish company “years behind” the competition.
I realize that Mr. Elop is referring to more than the supply chain, but a best in class supply chain will ensure that the right products are available at the right time to deliver to the customer.
There appear to be three classes of companies. Leaders, LeaderWannaBe’s and Laggards. In my humble opinion I would characterize them this way:


  • Visionary executives
  • Manage risk
  • Embrace change
  • Empower the organization
  • Never satisfied
  • Consensus, collaborative decision makers


  • Not yet a leader but recognizes the opportunity and need for improvement


  • Stuck in status quo
  • Don’t take any risk
  • Question and challenge change
  • Still using 80’s processes and technology
  • Make decisions in silos

I have the privilege of working with many companies, predominately high tech electronics, pharma, industrial, and aerospace and it typically isn’t too difficult to label the organization.

Leaders and LeaderWannaBe’s see opportunity and are focused on continuous improvement to widen the gap between them and the competition. Unfortunately, Laggards have their blinders on.

So I ask you …. How would you categorize your company and how can you influence the behavior? Nokia recognizes that it is time to act. Do you?

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A former customer of Kinaxis who went on to join the Kinaxis team and assume the role of business consultant in 2000, Carol McIntosh has been involved in numerous sales cycles resulting in the partnership of customers such as Amgen, Qualcomm, Avaya, Schneider Electric and Agilent to name a few. After taking a step back in 2015 to enjoy a sabbatical, Carol found she just couldn’t stay away from supply chain and has graciously agreed to continue to share her vast knowledge as a regular guest blogger. Look for her engaging series on supply chain planning systems of record.

More blog posts by Carol McIntosh


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