Competing against Amazon? You Need A Blue Ocean Strategy!

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Amazon is far and away the leader in the E-C0mmerce space.  Their growth continues at an exceptional pace.  And they continue to expand their products, services, and capabilities.  In short they continue to press their advantage and make it difficult for anyone else to compete with them.  You need a Blue Ocean strategy!

But if you are in the E-Commerce space that is your reality.  Amazon is the biggest shark in the room.  So how do you compete in the face of such an overwhelming adversary?

One technique is to consider creating your own Blue Ocean Strategy!  If you can define dramatically different space in which to do business you may be able to keep this shark, and others, at bay (at least for a period of time).

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Strategies to Make Smarter Business Decisions!

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Smarter business decisions article and permission to publish here provided by Carol Trehearn.

The key to success in business is making smart decisions. Every day there are big and small decisions that need to be made that could have a huge bearing on the success of the company. There are always issues that arise, challenges and situations that require a course of action. So how can you make sure that you are making the right decision?

You won’t always get it right and this is ok (more on this to come), but there are a number of ways that you can improve your decision-making to take your company forward. Keep reading to find out more about making smarter business decisions.

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Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Joe Carson, CEO Spend Strategies, LLC!

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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 Joe Carson, CEO and Founder of Spend Strategies, LLC.

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Characteristics of a Barrier Busting Culture!

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When you embark on driving any kind of Game Changing Transformation you will most likely also need to change the Culture.  As the saying goes, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results”.  So in order to get different results you may have to break through barriers and drive different behaviours from what are inherent in your current Culture.

Your organization is an ecosystem of policies, practices, processes and procedures that are the result of decisions, beliefs and  behaviours.  Over time much of this generally gets accepted as the way it’s always been done and is not open to challenge or to change.  Therein sacred cows, whether real or perceived, can become obstacles to making the changes needed to derive different results from the status quo.

So how do you change your Culture to achieve Game Changing results?

Continue reading “Characteristics of a Barrier Busting Culture!”

Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Ron Emery, Continuous Improvement Consultant

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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 Ron Emery, Continuous Improvement Consultant, Author and Entrepreneur.

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Seasoned Leadership in Action™! An Interview with David Cefai, CIO at IMax!

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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 David Cefai, CIO at IMax.

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How to Become a Supply Chain Game Changer! RateLinx Interviews Mike Mortson!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

Ratelinx interviews article with Mike Mortson originally appeared on ratelinx.com.

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the importance of supply chain management cannot be understated. After watching customers scramble to source household toiletries and life-saving PPE, supply chains are left wondering, “What comes next?” 

As we prepare for whatever comes next, it’s clear we need leaders ready and able to reinvent the supply chain. 

“I founded a website, supplychaingamechanger.com, with the sole mission of sharing experiences and expertise for the benefit of others,” he says. “There are so many people, myself included, who have had great careers and had wonderful opportunities. I believe that it is incumbent on all of us to share those experiences to help others along their career paths.”

Here’s what Mike had to say about the present and future of supply chain in a recent interview.

“The impact of supply chain is so broad and far-reaching that any professional in the field has the opportunity to impact virtually any aspect of a company’s, or even an industry’s, performance.”

Supply Chain Is Essential for Business Success

For the modern company, supply chain management is no longer a singular, separate operation like other business functions. Instead, it’s deeply ingrained, and tied to, a company’s success. So much so that supply chain managers have a unique opportunity to greatly impact the company with their role. 

It is this opportunity, Mike says, that makes supply chain leaders “game changers” for their companies. 

“In many respects, just being a part of the supply chain makes anyone a game changer. The impact of supply chain is so broad and far-reaching that any professional in the field has the opportunity to impact virtually any aspect of a company’s, or even an industry’s, performance,” Mike says. “Supply chain reaches into planning, operations, finance, asset management, procurement, logistics, distribution, sales, marketing, I/T, executive management, third-party partnerships, and leadership of all the above. That means a supply chain professional can shape and impact the tactical and strategic direction, growth, and success of any and all aspects of a company.”

Skills that Turn Leaders into Game Changers

According to Mike, what sets true supply chain game changers apart is skills and leadership qualities that enable them to put their power to its best use.

“The skills supply chain professionals must develop and deploy in the future go far beyond just understanding the transactional mechanics of their functional operations,” Mike says.

“It is incumbent on all of us to create even more robust supply chains in the future. If we don’t learn lessons from the pandemic, we are bound to repeat the problems we have experienced, as disasters of some kind are always on the horizon.”

These skills span the gamut of operational executive requirements. Supply chain game changers must not only understand processes and think bigger when it comes to supply chain management. They must also know how to lead on a much larger, global scale. Mike says the following skills are must-haves for future supply chain leaders:

  • Applied, real-time end-to-end supply chain management expertise
  • Strategic planning and big thinking
  • Technological expertise
  • data analytics mentality
  • Risk management expertise
  • Change leadership
  • Control tower leadership
  • Holistic, global leadership
  • Business process transformation capability
  • Best practices knowledge

Having worked with professionals from dozens of countries in many industries, Mike says these skills are global and universal. “You are either a good, or great, leader or you are not. It doesn’t matter what country you come from,” Mike says. “Your personal expertise, skill, and leadership skill shine through, no matter where you were born or live.”

COVID-19 Illustrated Supply Chain Failures

With professionals in position to impact their company’s future, we need to learn from the past to reshape the future. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has certainly impacted our personal and professional lives and taught us important lessons. 

One way it has done this is by exposing the fragility of the supply chain as it currently exists (causing, for example, difficulty in purchasing, fulfilling, and delivering toilet paper and face masks). But, as much as it has illustrated failings in supply chain management, Mike believes COVID-19 has also provided an opportunity to learn and build a more robust supply chain moving forward.

“It is incumbent on all of us to create even more robust supply chains in the future,” he says. “If we don’t learn lessons from the pandemic, we are bound to repeat the problems we have experienced. Disasters of some kind are always on the horizon.”

Supply Chain Leaders Must Embrace a New Normal

Mike says one lesson from the pandemic is the importance of supply chain talent—the game changers that keep things moving. In addition, we’ve learned the need to design supply chain flexibility and speed of response. There is an even more important capability that professionals must develop: the flexibility and resiliency to take changes in stride.

To build a more resilient supply chain for the post-pandemic landscape, we must accept there is no turning back. The “New Normal” is here, and the industry must not give in to pressures to return to the way things used to be.

New Sourcing and Planning Strategies are Key

One critical part of developing resiliency is diversified sourcing. Mike says, “Companies must look beyond any single sourcing or sole sourcing strategies. By definition, they create single points of failure, which can bring down any supply chain.”

This strategy plays into a larger lesson regarding disaster planning and risk management. Rather than dust off risk management documents once a year, then file them back in a drawer, Mike says supply chain professionals must take these preparations seriously and include them in ongoing strategy.

Additionally, more attention must be paid to strategic inventory planning. Particularly as more companies adopt e-commerce channels, this is a way to remain connected to customers and keep sales alive.

Mike also expects larger supply chain overhauls as companies search for more efficient and safer means of fulfillment. For instance, he mentions “don’t touch” supply chain strategies like dropshipping, which are essential to minimizing the number of points where goods are handled and stored. More advanced outsourcing strategies might also be necessary for companies to streamline their supply chains.

“Companies must consider a more extensive outsourcing strategy,” Mike says. “For instance, I believe that engaging external service organizations providing Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS) may be a more strategic way to get access to best-in-class expertise, processes, and techniques.”

The Future of Supply Chain Evolution is Digital

The transformation to a digital supply chain is crucial for success in the near future. Big data and technological advancements have already disrupted the industry on multiple fronts. But greater adoption is necessary to fully build out a digital supply chain.

“There are so many new and exciting technologies that will shape the future, and they all fall under the umbrella of the digital supply chain,” Mike says. “Blockchain, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, augmented reality, end-to-end digital connectivity, big data, cloud computing, machine learning, 3D printing, control towers, cybersecurity, and more.”

Automation is a key piece of the digital supply chain as well. Not just automation on the manufacturing floor, either—advanced analytics and artificial intelligence can assist businesses in automating their processes, too. 

The Time is Now to Invest in Supply Chain Technology

Mike believes control towers will also be crucial in incorporating and streamlining digital supply chain management. “Control tower proliferation should be the new normal. Control towers allow for centralized command and control, in real-time, of the entire end-to-end supply chain,” Mike says. “This is a part of the overall digital supply chain that should be a part of every company’s investment strategy.”

According to Mike, each of these separate technologies are the building blocks of the digital supply chain. And while the implementation of these investments might not be perfected for a few years, supply chain game changers will lead the charge.

“I believe this is the most exciting time to be in the supply chain. It will take decades, likely—far beyond the next five years for sure—as companies and industries figure out how to implement digital supply chain strategies. But who will be at the center of all of this, leading and architecting the future? The supply chain leader,” Mike says. “While I/T experts will develop the technologies, it is the supply chain leader who will create the big-picture vision of what the future will be and shape what is needed to be done to make that future a reality.”

Accepting Change is the Key to Future Supply Chain Success

Although the pandemic continues to create challenges, there is now enough data to examine strategies and find better solutions. With supply chain game changers ready to step up to the leadership plate and think bigger, Mike believes a brighter supply chain future is just in reach.

What’s important in the coming months and years is the ability to turn away from past strategies and accept strategic changes. These might include extensive outsourcing, inventory planning, and heightened disaster preparedness. But most of all, supply chain leaders must be prepared to invest in the capabilities and technologies required to steer supply chain management into the digital future.

Copyright © Mortson Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Originally published on March 2, 2021.

10 Mountain Climbing Strategies and Lessons for Optimum Results!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

I met a guy who had recently climbed Mount Everest. In our conversation I learned that he actually reached the summit on his second attempt, having failed on his first attempt a few years earlier.

On his first attempt he could actually see the summit only a couple of hundred feet ahead of him. But he ran out of fixed rope. Despite being so close to his goal he had to make a decision. Does he risk the attempt given the very high chances that he could die and never see his young son and wife again? Or does he go back down and try again in the future.

In the face of summit fever, that feeling of going for the summit at all costs, he calmly made the decision to go back down, and live to try another day.

It was a fascinating story and lesson that could be applied to life and business. What other lessons can be understood through the experience of mountain climbing?

Continue reading “10 Mountain Climbing Strategies and Lessons for Optimum Results!”

Seasoned Leadership in Action™! An Interview with Grant Chapman, President at Kroeger!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

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. This interview is with Grant Chapman, President at Kroeger Inc.

Kroeger is a wholesale distributor of toy, games, puzzles, gift and hobby servicing the Canadian retail and e-tail retailers. Kroeger has exclusive distribution of such brands as Rubik’s Cube, Toy State, Winning Moves Games, Endless Games, Ceaco Puzzles, WoodWick Candles, , Silly String, and other spectacular brands.

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What is VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) ?

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Unchaining Change Leadership

In this age of acronyms one of the terms that I have heard more of in recent years is “VUCA”. In short VUCA stands for “Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity”.

It seems to be a phrase designed to capture multiple synonyms for change and chaos, or the conditions associated with chaotic situations. Disarray, turmoil, pandemonium, unpredictability, confusion, and vagueness also capture that sensation of being in an environment that is out of equilibrium in some manner.

In both the personal and professional parts of our lives we are faced with these kinds of challenges each and every day.

Let’s explore more of what VUCA means and how we can better deal with these types of circumstances.

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Creating the Culture to Break Barriers!

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In my experience when you embark on driving any kind of Game Changing Transformation you will most likely also need to break barriers and change behaviours if not the Culture.  As the saying goes, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results”.  So in order to get different results you may have to break through barriers and drive different behaviours from what are inherent in the current Culture.

Your organization is an ecosystem of policies, practices, processes and procedures that are the result of decisions, beliefs and  behaviours.  Over time much of this generally gets accepted as the way it’s always been done and is not open to challenge or to change.  Therein sacred cows, whether real or perceived, can become obstacles to making the changes needed to derive different results from the status quo.

Having your Call to Action in Place, A Project Name and mandate, and a Holistic Approach are critical.  But the “X” factor that you also need to have a strategy for is Cultural Change.

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Achieve Breakthrough Results! Go From Worst to First!

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We launched the Global Inventory Turnover Breakthrough project on April 1st.  It was not a joke.  Our challenge was to improve Inventory turnover from 6.3 turns to over 8.6 turns within the year.  This was a level of achievement that the company had never before reached, let alone thinking about going from Worst to First.

But we had the Call to Action.  Our Inventory turnover was perennially the worst in our industry.  Our Inventory levels were consuming an enormous amount of cash as well as creating a lot of expense in carrying charges.  And this had the effect of driving our Return on Invested Capital to very low, unattractive levels.  Further there were ongoing complaints that even though we had a lot of inventory we  never had all of the right material that was needed.

We had the motivation to turn this situation around.  What we didn’t know is that we were about to make history and go from Worst to First!

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Why is Supply Chain Management Important? Our 10 Best Articles!

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There was a time, not so long ago, when Supply Chain was viewed merely as a necessary, but unimportant, back office function. And for many people they still work in an environment where Supply Chain is not given the respect that it rightly deserves. They haven’t known why Supply Chain Management is important.

However the Coronavirus pandemic, if nothing else, has proven the absolutely critical nature of Supply Chain. The fragility of the global Supply Chain, and the impacts when Supply Chains fail, were exposed by the pandemic. Unlike any time before government leaders, CEOs, and people from every corner of the globe were talking about Supply Chain.

I’ve always believed that Supply Chain is perhaps the most pivotal function in any organization as it pertains to the successful operation and survival of that entity.

It’s time to recognize the undeniable, irrefutable importance of Supply Chain. In this article we present our 10 best articles corroborating the esteem which we should bestow on this amazing field.

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Seasoned Leadership in Action™! An Interview with Paul Kretz, Head of SCM at Church & Dwight!

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Paul Kretz
Paul Kretz, SCM at Church & Dwight

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 Paul Kretz, Head of SCM at Church and Dwight.

I first met Paul at Celestica.  He left to purse other interests but our paths crossed again later on.  I was at a company that had just implemented a new WMS system in the Distribution Centre.  The system cutover  was a disaster.  And the operation had been run without true Warehouse Management experience as well.  As I looked to recruit a new leader I was looking for a someone who could lead change.

I toured my final two candidates through the Distribution Centre, including Paul.  Their reactions would help me decide who to select.  The other person seemed overwhelmed and lost while looking at the mess in the warehouse.  It wasn’t clear what they would do.  Paul looked at the disastrous situation like a kid in a candy store.  He saw opportunity at every turn.  And instead of  being intimidated by the situation Paul was motivated and inspired.  I found my leader!

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Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Stephen Beard, VP at Flexe!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

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 Stephen Beard, VP of Network Development at Flexe.

Continue reading “Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Stephen Beard, VP at Flexe!”