Shake Up Your Supply Chain!

Are things getting a bit stale in your supply chain?

Perhaps not alot has changed over the last several years, only the odd customer complaint. Budgets have been stable with only regular inflationary adjustments year over year.

The company is profitable and all seems well with the world. The only mildly concerning trend is that many of the younger managers seem to come and go, not sticking it out for the long haul with your organization.

You just broke in a new office chair, probably the most comfortable you’ve ever had, and are wrapping up your budgets for next year and all signs point to serving up more of the same.

So what’s wrong with this picture? If your answer is nothing, the real answer may be you!

Some people may be happy to simply fill an office, pull down a good wage and work pretty well regular business hours. And while this may be satisfying for you at a mid to later stage in your career, younger managers may want to make their mark by identifying, solving and implementing innovative solutions which may not fit into your next budget.

Maybe your success at maintaining the status quo has frustrated the new generation and that’s why they’ve moved on?

If this sounds like you, read on as we lay out a few ideas on to “Shake Up Your Supply Chain!” If it doesn’t sound like you, congratulations and perhaps you want to review these suggestions for some new ideas you can use and also have some fun by passing this article on to a colleague who may resemble these remarks.

So what are some suggestions on how you can shake up your supply chain?

Musical Managers

This variation on musical chairs is where you ask all of your managers to draw department names out of a hat and take over that department for a one week period. Many of your managers are great at their area of expertise, but often when you’re too close to something it becomes hard to see the big picture and new opportunities. It’s sometimes amazing what a different set of eyes will see and then explain in the report you ask each manager to write on opportunities they see.

Boss For a Day

Ask all of your direct reports to write down what the things are that they would do if they were the Boss. You’ll be surprised how many good ideas some employees have that have yet to see the light of day as the individual may have thought they didn’t have the pull to bring them about, or simply have never been asked.

The Greenfield

Start with a blank sheet of paper, and if it’s a green one, even better. Forget about your network as it currently exists and based upon your product source and customer locations design a “Greenfield” network which would be the ultimate solution in your case. Then step back to reality and determine steps you can take to move towards this new network. If you like, use some of the new generation of network modelling software to support this process.

So the above represent a few ideas to get you going, look for future editions to make additional suggestions on how to “Shake Up Your Supply Chain!” Better still, if you’ve got a suggestion or other method used to shake up your supply chain, drop me an email or post it to the Logistics and Supply Chain Forum.

Jeff Ashcroft


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Ashcroft Communications International Ltd.

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