I spent a year working in Colorado. In Colorado you can’t help but be drawn to the beauty of the mountains. Eventually I started climbing those peaks (called the Fourteeners, as they are over 14,000 feet high) in my spare time. I hadn’t even thought about Mount Kilimanjaro at that point.
At the same time I started reading all of the books I could find on mountain climbing. One in particular, the “Seven Summits“, by Dick Bass and Frank Wells, with Rick Ridgeway, really caught my attention. It tells the story about these guys who got the idea to climb the highest summit on each continent.
By the time I had finished the book I got the idea in my head that I wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. That became the start of an adventure of a lifetime.
Indirect procurement of goods and services can be one of the largest areas of expenditure in any company. And the operational impact that the provision of Indirect goods and services can have on a company can be significant, either positively or negatively.
Yet the lack of attention and focus that Indirect Procurement is often given is inconsistent with the true importance of this area. Indirect Procurement takes a back seat to Direct Procurement unfortunately.
Doing business with suppliers located overseas or in another country can be an overwhelming and daunting task even for expert Sourcing professionals. But what if you considered Outsourcing Sourcing?
Recently a friend of mine asked me to have lunch with him and one of his associates. The other gentleman had invented a new product. He had a marketing plan. He knew what his cost point had to be on the product which meant that he had to have the product manufactured overseas.
But beyond that he had no idea on where to start to source his product.
The Retail company I had just joined was undergoing a massive transformation. Fundamentally the new merchandising strategy was to curate a dramatically different set of products from that which was carried historically, but in addition to what was carried historically. What did this mean for the backroom in every store?
This meant that an enormous number of the business processes had to be transformed to support the new product set because management of the new merchandise required much different capabilities in all aspects of running a retail company. Not only did this transformation require new capabilities but it also required improvements to productivity and efficiency throughout the company. And overall this meant a need for cultural change.
I decided that I would introduce Lean process improvement techniques to this company.
The capability we had in E-Commerce order fulfillment was rather basic. We had employees manually pushing carts up and down standard warehouse racking aisles picking goods off of shelves. And when they had completed an order or a set of orders they would then push the entire cart back to a centralized order packing station.
As a Supply Chain Services company we needed a dramatically better capability if we were wanted to have customers trust their growing E-Commerce business with us. Pushing carts around a warehouse is both inefficient and lacks innovation.
We had to go back to the drawing board. But in doing so we would end up with a World Class solution!
The Supply Chain function within your company has many responsibilities. From planning to negotiating to buying, from moving goods to processing goods, and from managing data to managing inventory. These responsibilities are at the core of making your company run. But is Supply Chain a Cost Centre or a Value Creator?
Yet often the Supply Chain is undervalued. While every function must help your company grow and prosper when the heat is on uninformed Executives can view Supply Chain as merely a Cost Centre. As such there can be unrelenting pressure to continue to cut costs.
Why is Supply Chain often undervalued? And how do you increase the value of Supply Chain in the eyes of your Executives and other functions?
Pain points are a part of business. They create opportunities to innovate, diversify and grow. Without customer pain points, there is no reason to be in business. Trading goods and services is as old as mankind itself.
For busy executives, being active on social media and leveraging social media tips is kind of like networking. It’s one of those things that everyone says you absolutely have to do to benefit your career, but it’s hard to make it part of your daily routine.
Let’s be honest: it’s even harder for those who came of age before social media became ubiquitous. It can be tough to pin down what channels you should be on, what you should be posting, and the specific ways that a strong social media presence will bolster your career.
Supply chain collaboration is a hot topic today and no wonder: companies that collaborate effectively across the supply chain have enjoyed dramatic reductions in inventories and costs, together with improvements in speed, service levels, and customer satisfaction.
Supplier chain collaboration itself isn’t new. What’s new is that it’s taken on a much greater urgency and importance.
The Supply Chain team was generally viewed as lacking in skill and capability by those outside the organization. Customers and other internal functions viewed Supply Chain as a dysfunctional organization as evidenced by the poor Supply Chain performance metrics. And external benchmarking placed our Supply Chain last amongst our competitors. Going to infinity and beyond was a tall task to say the least.
Inside the Supply Chain organization there were a lot of very smart people. But there was no trust, teamwork or synergy. The culture was one more of complacency than of trend setting. And there was a lack of inspired leadership.
This is our third year of publishing interviews with great leaders. Our 2020 All Stars are leaders that have been exceptional this year, as they and people from all walks of life have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The interviews are generally amongst our highest viewed articles. This further underscores the fundamental objective of Supply Chain Game Changer which is to share experiences and expertise from professionals around the world.
People want to hear from others and learn the lessons they can share. They want to hear about experiences and get advice and guidance.
Gartner recently announced their Top 25 Supply Chains List. I always find it interesting to see the list, to see who came out on top, and to hear what their views are on prevailing trends.
But as I review the list, compare it to prior years, and consider the scoring methodology I do wonder whether the list in its current form continues to be relevant for identifying the best of the Supply Chain.
Early in my career I worked in a department that was responsible for the design,testing, sourcing and procurement of packaging materials. It was a great experience and introduction to so many aspects of the Supply Chain.
But one day one of my peers was fired. He was responsible for negotiating with the packaging suppliers. As it turns out he was taking kickbacks. When that was discovered and verified he was summarily dismissed. He went over to the dark side.
I never got the precise details but I don’t believe he could have got more than a few thousand dollars for his illicit efforts. More importantly he got a black mark on his resume, and in his life, that he could never erase.
That was my first lesson on the do’s and don’t of Supplier Relationships.
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. The first in our Interview series is with Skip Boothby, a colleague and good friend for many years.
Skip Boothby is a tremendous Leader and Executive with phenomenal experience in running businesses and operations through every stage of their evolution. Skip’s background and insights are valuable for all of us to learn from and share.