What Do Object Oriented Programming and Custom GUIs Have To Do With Actionable Data?

Note to the astute reader: This is essentially the same comment that I made in response to Jason Busch’s It’s Not Just About the Data — It’s About Acting on the Data┬ápost on Thursday.

I don’t know, but if anyone can tell me, I’d be grateful. The Supply Chain Management Review recently ran an article titled Supply Chain Measurement: Turning Data Into Action that, apparently, uses a three step process to help you transition from making measurements to taking actions, which is, of course, the reason you’re measuring in the first place. If the measurements indicate that there is something that can be improved, then you should take action.

The steps are outlined as follows:

  • Understand Interdependencies – Use Themes and Patterns
  • Identify the Tradeoffs and Analyze Root Causes
  • Develop and Prioritize Action Items

I could be wrong, but I thought that patterns were generally used in object oriented design to represent standard relationships and interactions between objects and classes, without specifying the final application objects or classes that will be involved. In addition, I thought that themes were pre-configured graphical user interface customizations that are generally used to customize the look and feel of an operating system or window manager. I don’t see what either of these have to do with supply chain measurements. Furthermore, this looks more like a prescription for modernizing a classic procedural software application into a modern object oriented software application than it does for supply chain improvement. I have to say I’m just a little confused.

The article doesn’t help much. With regard to understanding interdependencies, it says to think of the data as a narrative; your job is to reveal the final story. A narrative? Are we supposed to be writing a work of fiction? Then it says that the data can be sliced into different thematics and that it’s helpful to visually map the metrics to the themes. Are we supposed to be creating works of art?

Then it goes on to say a a successful analysis of themes, interdependencies and tradeoffs reveals is where the levers are in your supply chain. Levers? Where did they come from? Now you have to be a mad scientist too?!?

About the only thing I understood in this article is that supply chains are complex, and that’s why you shouldn’t try to summarize everything about a supply chain in a single, short, article. Because you end up using so many metaphors that, by the end of it, your audience will, like Pinky, be stunned so senseless that all they can do is ask about the metal floors.