Tag Archives: Supply Chain Management Improvements

Proverbs and Supply Chain Management Innovations

If you have worked in business for any length of time, you are bound to have heard of the importance of ‘not re-inventing the wheel’; not trying to do redesign Supply Chain Management Innovations something which has already been achieved. In some respects there is a small amount of wisdom in the proverb, but if your business is not trying something new, how does it differ from the competition? What makes your supply chain any better? What can you offer your customers that they cannot get elsewhere?

Albert Einstein summed up the dilemma perfectly, ‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

When assessing our supply chain management systems, there are undoubtedly lessons that can be learned from the experiences of similar organisation or even our competitors. But in the unwritten rulebook of business process analysis, nowhere does it state that just because something worked for ABC Ltd, it will work for your company. If you blindly replicate the implementations of other businesses, you may gain the same advantages they did, but you will also repeat the same mistakes they did.

At the end of the process you are in no better or worse position than when you started because you are in exactly the same place competitively as when you started.

Consequently the delivery of supplies and services must be new and innovative or no one benefits in the long term. Neither your business, its partners nor its customers will be any better off if your supply chain management system does not reinvent the wheel.

The global financial downturn has forced many businesses to think more creatively about their futures giving credence to yet another old adage – ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. Your business and its processes need to change, so why not be inventive? Why not break the rules and reinvent the wheel?


Supply Chain Management Improvements – Where does your customer fit in?

No matter what analysts say, vendors advise or your gut feels, improvements to your supply chain are a potential waste if they ignore the most important factor. If the benefits to your customer are not considered when implementing supply chain management improvements, you must ask yourself, why bother?

Although changes to the supply chain can make a business more efficient, reduce costs and raise employee morale, if the customer is not the overall beneficiary, your business may not actually realise any significant benefits. One of the first tenets is that the customer is king, thus they must be at the centre of everything you do, including innovations.

The Customer is King in the Supply Chain Management Improvements Process

Consequently any supply chain enhancement should go through planning from your business’ point of view and again from that of a customer. Try and define how the change benefits  your customer, and better still assign it a definite value. If you cannot, carefully consider whether you are implementing the correct innovation. An innovation that offers no value to your customers is probably not worth the investment required to implement it.

The demand for improved margins come from many different groups with shareholders leading the charge. Often many businesses choose to make efficiencies as a way of offering dividends rather than re-investing the savings for future development. Worse still these efficiencies often come at the cost of customer service. Any benefit to the customer in this situation is an afterthought, or even an unexpected side effect.

Customers who find that they are low down in their suppliers priority list are therefore right to feel aggrieved, especially if profits appears to be taking priority over their needs. In their position, why would they not seek out a supplier who appears to be more interested in them?

Supply chain management provides many, many benefits but if they do not offer similar advantages to your customers, can you really justify them?