The Unspoken Key to Successful Supply Chain Transformation?

There are many keys to supply chain transformation success including, but not limited to, good people, good technology, an effective globally integrated sales and operation planning process, a well designed network, tight links with customers and suppliers up and down the chain, effective logistics partnerships, and a good go-to-market strategy. But there is an unspoken secret to success, as suggested by this recent Harvard Business Review article which asks why is it so hard to tackle the obvious.

As per the article, the unspoken key to success is knowing what to forget. That’s right, the unspoken key to success is knowing not what practices and processes to keep, but what practices and processes to throw out with the trash — including those practices and processes that were successful in the past.

The key is to ask the following questions:

  • What processes are not working?
  • What processes are not adaptable to the proposed supply chain?
  • What positions* are no longer needed?
  • What systems are not equipped to handle the change

And then lose those processes, positions, and systems and replace them with new processes, positions, and systems more suited for the modern supply chain you are trying to build. (And then train your people accordingly.)

* Positions, not people. If a good person is in a role that is being eliminated, you train them for a new role that is being created.

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