As part of our ongoing ‘Learn from the Masters’ series, which features answers to your burning supply chain-related questions from our talented business consultants, we bring you the comedy stylings of Bill Dubois. Bill has been part of the Kinaxis team for more than 12 years, and is also the host of our home-grown Late Late Supply Chain Show. Take from his answers what you will!
How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here?
I lost a bet. Well actually, I was in manufacturing when I was asked to join what was Kinaxis at the time as an Integration Consultant. I jumped at the new opportunity to gain experience in a software company and inside of a year of joining a Business Consulting role came up. I didn’t apply for it and the VP of Sales at the time asked why. Well he must have been a good sales person because within an hour I went from telling him why I didn’t apply to why I was the best candidate for the position. The next week I was on a plane to Europe to deliver my first demo.
What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned?
The plan is always wrong. You have to plan but be ready for the unexpected. The best golfers are the ones that can hit great shots out of the bunkers or other hazards. It’s like that in supply chain. The best supply chains are the ones that can respond when things don’t go as planned.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain?
Network. Consultants, Analysts, Practitioners (especially from other industries) all have valuable insights into the best practices for supply chain management. Meet and talk to as many people as you can. Hit some conferences. (Kinexions is a great place to meet all of the above!) The next generation of supply chain technologies are at a tipping point and getting outside your own four walls will keep you up to speed on what’s next.
If you had to name three priorities for a company looking to evolve their supply chain processes, what would they be?
- The Customer. Find out what’s important to them and make it happen. (it will likely be a balance between quality, cost and delivery/service).
- Right Size Your Inventories. Satisfy the customer but make some money too. Inventory is a good barometer for improvement initiatives. For example, a reduction in lead-time usually means a reduction in safety stock requirements.
- Supply Chain Education. Encourage supply chain employees to research, join APICS, attend conferences and not be stuck in the status quo. Give employees opportunities to drive supply chain improvements.
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?
Superman. We both fly a bunch and sometimes I wear glasses.
What’s the one app on your phone that you can’t live without?
OnSong – if you’ve ever played guitar around a campfire it’s your best friend.