Daily Archives: January 8, 2007

A Public Nomination (for Jason Busch)

Those of you in the know will know that Supply & Demand Chain Executive‘s annual Pro’s to Know list is coming up and that it’s now nomination time. Nominations are due in two weeks, so please make sure to do yours ASAP. (I’ve made mine!)

In hopes that you would join me in not overlooking one individual who has made a significant contribution to the space over the last two years, I’ve decided to make one of my nominations public, exactly as I submitted it, here on this blog. If you agree with me, please join me in my nomination. Although it is Supply & Demand Chain‘s prerogative to choose whomever they want to, I’m sure it would be very hard for them to overlook an individual who received hundreds (or thousands!) of nominations.

Name    of nomineeJason Busch
Title   of nomineeEditor
Company of nomineeSpend Matters

In 250 words or less, please describe how the nominee has personally helped raise the profile of Supply Chain and increase the recognition of the importance of Supply Chain as a strategic function within the enterprise; why the nominee personally believes that it is important for Supply Chain to be recognized today as a strategic function within the enterprise; and what, in the nominee’s opinion, technology’s role is in enabling Supply Chain to achieve a more strategic role within the enterprise.

For over two years, Jason Busch has been diligently blogging multiple times a day on issues, events, and best practices in the sourcing, procurement, and supply chain space and working hard to raise the profile of the space as a whole.

Jason Busch personally believes that it is important for Supply Chain to be recognized as a strategic function within the enterprise because he has spent over ten years working in the space, first as a service provider (at FreeMarkets, a pioneer e-auction powerhouse) and then as an independent consultant and analyst (at Azul Partners), and has seen first hand the transformative effects that good supply chain management best practices can have on an organization.

Having worked for a technology provider, Jason Busch knows first-hand what enabling supply and spend management technology can do for the enterprise – that’s why he spends time on a weekly basis talking to people at major software companies in the supply chain space and posting their solution profiles on his blog so that everyone can be informed of the latest technology offerings and how it can help them transform their operations. Jason Busch’s opinion is that technology will continue to help business transform their supply chain operations and become more efficient and more productive as time goes on.

For our selection committee to better evaluate each candidate, we ask that you please cut and paste below a current bio for the nominee.

Jason Busch is Founder and Managing Director of Azul Partners, a marketing consultancy that advises software and services companies. Prior to launching Azul Partners, Jason spent five years at FreeMarkets (acquired by Ariba) leading a range of efforts and initiatives. Jason has also served as a consultant with Northeast Consulting (acquired by Nervewire) where he helped clients with technology and strategic planning decisions.

Jason has authored over one hundred columns and whitepapers on technology and economics. His work has appeared in leading trade and business publications in the US, Europe, and Asia. Regarded for his forward thinking opinions, Jason has been quoted in numerous articles, books, and academic papers and is a frequent speaker and panelist at industry conferences. He has also served as a guest lecturer at US and European universities.

Jason holds an MA in history from the University of Pennsylvania. He also completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a BA, cum laude, with departmental honors, in history and English literature. In addition, Jason has completed coursework in the Wharton School.

Defeating Uncertainty (in Demand Planning)

As part of my recent innovation week, I posted Measuring Innovation which provided you some metrics that you could use to measure your innovative progress – since you can’t manage what you can’t measure is as true with innovation as it is with any other business activity. But the importance of measurement goes deeper than you may recognize, as pointed out by recent articles in the Supply Chain Management Review and Knowledge @ Wharton.

According to Wharton, supply chain measurement is a mission critical element but many companies lag when it comes to measuring how well they are doing when implementing new supply chain initiatives. Considering that procurement and supply chain departments are under continual pressure to get better results without increased resources, it’s vital that you use metrics that identify how the strategic needs of the company are being met.

Wharton recommends using the “efficient frontier” to gage capability where you plot points along a trade-off curve between multiple the performance metrics and look for a position that protects your interests and those of your customers simultaneously. For you technical folks, you’re finding the optimal point on a multi-objective pareto curve based upon the relative weightings of the metrics you are using.

However, as the SCMR points out, there are many challenges in supply chain measurement that you have to solve to effectively manage your supply chain and find the optimal point on that multi-objective pareto curve. Old data, too many metrics, constantly changing metrics, and endless debate over metric definition are just some of the difficulties you need to overcome.

The key is to know what to measure, decide on some industry standard metrics to measure it, and have a program in place to measure it that focuses on quality and not quantity. This program should be based on best practices and avoid the common pitfalls of excellence addiction (constant improvement is good, but you need to take it one step at a time), missing data (the right stuff isn’t enough), ingrained inertia (resistance to change), and analysis paralysis (don’t overanalyze or fail to act on the results).

The metric definition best practices outlined in the article are great:

  • design different metric portfolios for different goals
  • keep it small (avoid the “mushroom effect”) as each portfolio must be of a manageable size
  • address the basics: balanced, cross functional, and practical (with respect to cost, quality, time, & effectiveness)
  • align execution and strategy
  • understand the interdependencies
  • balance the need for standards versus customization (every chain should measure demand-forecast accuracy, perfect order, total chain costs, and cash-to-cash cycle time)

Finally, remember to set targets, work hard to achieve them, and retain them once you have reached them.