Lessons from Bad Bosses!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

Over the course of a long career I have worked with and for many, many people.  As I reflect on the bosses I have had it is easy to create a list of those I considered to be good bosses and those I considered to be bad bosses.

But I have also always felt that you can, and should, learn from everyone.  Whether you  consider that they are good, bad or indifferent there are behaviours and qualities that you can see in every person.

Everyone can share similar stories, again both good and bad.  It’s how you react, adapt, adopt, avoid, change, and deal with these behaviours that is important.

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Naming a Product or Company? It’s Not That Easy!

The organization was spinning off from the parent company within a year to become its own corporation. A lot of work had to be done to in order to get ready to be an independent, publicly traded company, including naming.

The CEO called me into his office and said, “I’d like you to lead the effort to name the company.”

Wow! This was certainly an honour. But how do you name a company and where do you start?

While it may seem easy to come up with a company, or product, name I was about to find out how incredibly difficult and complicated this process can be.

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Ground Rules for Creating a High Performance Organization (HPO)!

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A High Performance Organization is one in which there is tremendous alignment among and commitment by the team members. And as a result this motivated team is able to achieve superior results. The level of collaboration and innovation they demonstrate is remarkable.  But what are the ground rules?

There are many characteristics of the culture which allows such teams to be high performing. And when they set out to drive change and make improvements it is those cultural characteristics which allow them to succeed.

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How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Change Decision Making!

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) article originally published at https://www.tenfold.com . Permission to publish provided by Abigail Rabi.

From The Terminator to Blade Runner, pop culture has always leaned towards a chilling depiction of artificial intelligence (AI) and our future with AI at the helm. Recent headlines about Facebook panicking because their AI bots developed a language of their own have us hitting the alarm button once again. Should we really feel unsettled with an AI future?

News flash: that future is here. If you ask Siri, the helpful assistant who magically lives inside your phone, to read text messages and emails to you, find the nearest pizza place or call your mother for you, then you’ve made AI a part of your everyday life. Even current weather forecasting systems, spam filtering programs, and Google’s search engine – among so many other practical applications – are AI-powered. Now, artificial intelligence doesn’t seem that alarming, right?

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Lessons from the Edge of the Abyss! Surviving a System Implementation!

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The company I had just joined was nearing the finish line on the implementation of a new WMS system.  They had been working on the system change for a few years.  Now implementation was only a few months away.  There were going to be lessons from the edge of this experience.

As the implementation date drew closer one of the key Warehouse management leaders, heading the project from the beginning, left the company.  We forged ahead and implemented the system on April 1st.  That’s right, April 1st!

And that’s when the “fun” began!

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The Supply Chain Detective™ and the Change Paradox!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

I was brought into the company to make changes happen. The company was facing overwhelming competition from a global behemoth. The product portfolio was outdated and the company needed to enter new markets with new products. And that meant that a fundamental change in processes, structure, systems and culture was required. There should be no change paradox.

The dire situation, and the need for change, was communicated first from the CEO. And it seemed that everyone in the organization, regardless of level or title, all recognized the need for change and the sense of urgency.

But when it was time to make change happen the level of resistance, from the CEO on down, was incredible.

The forces for change met with equal and opposite forces against change. This change paradox, and the resultant paralysis, could only be solved by The Supply Chain Detective™.

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Our 2017 Top 10 Blog Posts … So Far!

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It’s been 6 months since we launched supplychaingamechanger.com.  Our goal has always been to share experiences and expertise.  The site has evolved.  The number of categories has continued to grow.  And the response has been absolutely tremendous. We can now present our 2017 Top 10 Blog posts.

In that time Supply Chain Game Changer was also selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 75 Supply Chain Blogs on the Internet.

So we thought that this would be a good point at which to share a list of the 2017 Top 10 Blog posts that we have published so far.  We would be remiss if we didn’t also thank the phenomenal Guest Bloggers who have given us such great content.

So here is the 2017 Top 10 Blog List, so far …

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Business Practices Disrupting Procurement!

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Business practices article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Sam Jenks at kodiakrating.com.

When I was a kid, my mom had a ’93 Ford Escort.

I remember that car as clearly as I remember banging with my fist on it’s ceiling singing Tom Petty’s Makin’ Some Noise.

Days and years went by, and eventually, the ’93 Ford Escort was living in the hybrid-dominated world of the year 2004. My mom decided that the Escort had seen better days, and started a new/used car hunt. She soon selected the Prius as her car of choice for its environmentally friendly features. The Escort joined its fellow junk metal comrades in an automotive-parts junkyard a few miles away from my childhood home.

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Project Prioritization Simplified!

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We had the “Call To Action” from the CEO.  The business needed to be transformed to support growth.  And the business needed to be financially stronger and much more productive.

With the mandate established we had named the change initiative that we were about to launch.  We had enlisted leaders from every functional organization.  And we had began to roll out our communication strategy.

This project involved every employee, every function, and every process in the company.  We needed a simple way to prioritize all of the projects that we were about to undertake.

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The Call To Action … Where It All Begins!

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“The Board is REALLY upset.  They want a plan to dramatically improve our Supply Chain inventory turnover performance and they want it now.  Will you lead this for me?”  That was a call to action.

My boss had just got out of the Board meeting and these were his words to me.  The company had historically performed very poorly in managing inventory.  And it was not only consuming a lot of cash but it was impacting our profitability with the high carrying charges and write-offs.  Also it impacted  our competitive position as customers and competitors didn’t believe we knew how to manage inventory, and Supply Chain, very well.

This was a Call To Action!

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Cost Cutting! Brute Force or An Intelligent Program?

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How many times have you been asked to cut cost?  How many times have you been asked to cut costs so deeply that it is beyond your comprehension?

In those situations you can always use the Brute Force method.  Hacking and slashing resources and expenses in this way often compromises the very capabilities, skills, morale and services that are keeping your company afloat in  the first place.  But it can be quick.

But if you have the chance to deploy a proper Change Management program to drive the cost reductions or other improvements that you are looking for then you may have many more constructive opportunities in front of you.

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Cash Is King! Creating a Culture Focused on Money Management

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“We have to make a decision.  We only have enough cash to either pay our employees or our suppliers next week, but not both.”  The old saying was true:  Cash is King!

Wow!  This was what my Controller just told me.  We had just acquired another company.  The decision was made to operate it at arm’s length from the parent company.  And this meant that we had to fund the operation with our own cash, which was at a dangerously low level.

Neither option that the Controller just mentioned was palatable.  We needed a strategy to tackle the immediate cash shortfall and to then create a strong cash position moving forward.

We had the Call to Action!  This would prove to be my first real lesson in Cash Management which could not have been made more intense and immediate!

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Seasoned Leadership in Action™! An Interview with Michael Massetti, VP at Gartner!

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Michael Massetti
       Michael Massetti, Gartner

At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe.  As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series at Supply Chain Game Changer.  This interview is with Michael Massetti, Vice President for General Managers – High Tech, at Gartner.

I first met Michael when he was at Lucent.  He was my customer and we had a difficult problem that we were working to resolve.  This problem required my team and I to travel to Lucent to have a working meeting with Michael Massetti and his team.  In what could have otherwise been a very stressful and difficult situation Michael’s leadership style was that of a consummate professional.  And his team was a complete reflection of him.

You couldn’t help but he impressed with Michael Massetti.  And I am happy to have known him ever since as his career has flourished!

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Double Inventory Turnover In 9 months!

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“We are a Supply Chain Services Company,” I was told.

“If we are truly a Supply Chain Services Company, then why is our Inventory Turnover only at 7?”,  I asked.

I had just joined the company and in studying their financial performance it stood out to me that if we were truly a Supply Chain Services company then having only 7 Inventory turns was extremely uninspiring.

We needed to be dramatically better at managing Inventory to convince ourselves, and our customers, that we were a trusted and leading Supply Chain Services partner.  Could we double inventory turnover?

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Spend Aggregation Obstacle Course for Procurement!

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The theory is simple!  If you can increase spend levels through centralized spend aggregation across entities then you increase your leverage in negotiations. This leverage should translate to lower costs and better terms and conditions.  But there is a spend aggregation obstacle course to be overcome first.

These entities may be different departments or facilities within your own company. They may be different companies under common ownership. They may be disparate companies within an industry. Or they may be unrelated companies spanning many industries.

The benefits seem clear. So why is there so much resistance when it comes to trying to aggregate spend across these entities?

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