In a recent article over on the Supply Chain Consultants site, Harpal Singh asks if best practices are always best. It’s a good question, because the answer is no, or at least not if you blindly follow the advice of your competitor.
While every company executes similar functions — HR, Legal, Marketing, Product/Service Development, and Supply Chain — every company has differences that make it distinct. As a result, no process or practice can be expected to work out of the box without some tailoring.
For example, company X’s cost saving strategy might be reducing the number of shipments by using the available storage space in buildings they own (and which would otherwise go unused) to achieve that goal while company Y’s cost saving strategy might be JIT shipments because they don’t own any storage space and rental costs in local warehouses are quite high. As a result, while both might be standardizing on the same inventory management system to achieve inventory improvements, the systems would have to be configured differently.
Similar scenarios can be imaging in supplier selection (depending upon the desired characteristics of the supplier), carrier selection, and joint product development. While there will be lots of similarities (as both should be using e-Sourcing, e-Procurement, modern web-based IMS/WMS applications, etc.), there will be lots of differences in the nuances of the implementation. However, that does not mean that you can sweep someone else’s best practices under the rug, because if they come from a big, successful, global corporation like Apple, GE, Sony, P&G, or Unilever, there’s a lot of meat on the bone and you just have to figure out how to get the right cut.
For more tips on how to make best practices work for you, check out Harpal Sing’s article.