Charlie Wilgus is the General Manager of the Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division at Lucas Group, North America’s premier executive search firm.
“Unpacking this question is a bit of a magic trick in that supply chain is…”
A series of very complex activities that force a company to make strategic choices at the ground/production levels, ultimately impacting the value and success of the entire organization. It has a lot to do with focus and efficiency, but it’s the companies that try to be everything to everybody that end up in trouble.
To create a successful supply chain strategy from a technical standpoint, you have to ensure that everything is integrated from end-to-end, both from a systems/applications standpoint and from a leadership alignment perspective (S&OP). Systems and applications have to be integrated so that there’s no degradation when data is converted. A good example is when functions don’t collaborate: finance is planning from one dataset, sales another and marketing is a third set of data. The result is a very poor forecast that supply chain has to execute against. Ultimately, this results in poor service and a lot of incremental cost to try to fulfill the demand.
But let’s try and keep it simple: the key to a winning supply chain strategy is to ask a lot of questions until you can best understand what the key success factors are for the entire business. A solid supply chain strategy should support the overall business strategy. Once you know these key success factors, you can have a sound leadership discussion around the supply chain strategy. The discussions must deliver a simple but compelling story that can be told throughout the organization from the top down.
The four questions that must be answered in the story are as follows:
- What is the vision of the future?
- Why are we going in this direction?
- What are the key steps toward getting us to this future place?
- How will we measure our progress and success?
Something critical to remember in this supply chain journey is that strategy is not the destination — strategy is what specific actions you’re going to take to get to your destination.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to leadership as well. If all leaders can tell this story with conviction and deliver a repeatable process with a clarity of purpose that gets buy-in throughout the organization, then that is the single most effective way to create a winning supply chain strategy.
Read the full article here: “26 Supply Chain Pros Reveal The Single Most Effective Way To Create A Winning Supply Chain Strategy,” 6 River Systems, By Carolina Monroy