Daily Archives: December 22, 2010

To Be a Good CSCO, Don’t Forget the Don’ts!

A recent article over in eyefortransport on the DOs and DON’Ts for Chief Supply Chain Officers had a good list of things to do to be a successful CSCO (or CPO) but what really got my attention was the list of things not to do, because it’s so easy to do five things right and then watch everything unravel when you do only one thing wrong. Here are some of the most important don’ts from the article:

  • don’t create a separate KPI team
    KPIs should be created by the people who are performing the functions they measure. Otherwise, you’ll have good-meaning people who don’t truly understand the function deciding that the right metric is average order completion time and not on-time shipments as you can have a great average order completion time but still be late for 30% of your orders.
  • don’t create a function without a well defined purpose
    Just like you shouldn’t outsource to China because the company down the street is doing it, you shouldn’t create a new function because the company next door is doing it. Your team is already overworked, so don’t add something unless you know why you’re adding it and what benefits it’s going to bring.
  • don’t cut the training budget
    This cannot be stressed enough — you need highly skilled and educated people to make it in this knowledge economy. (That’s why we can have 15% unemployment and still have millions of jobs unfilled.) If you’re people don’t have the necessary skills, they won’t get the job you need done.
  • don’t speak supply chain language with other departments
    They won’t understand a word you’re saying and will think that you need a “vacation” at the local “resort“. That’s why you need to learn to lean to speak the language of the CFO.
  • don’t let the board think supply chain is just about cost
    If you do, they’ll have you cut, cut, cut until the quality falls through the floor and there’s melamine in the milk, salmonella in the spinach, lead in the paint, or asbestos in the insulation and your supply chain falls apart.

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Are You Really a Futurist if You Predict a Future That’s Already Here?

I found a recent article over on SupplyChainBrain on Five Fearless Visions of the Future very entertaining, and not just because I found a few of the predictions to be out of left field, but because some were not really predictions at all … as the predictions were simply describing the current state of affairs.

Consider the following:

  • The cloud is upon us.
    The “cloud” has been hovering over us for a few years now. There’s been a strong movement to SaaS for the last five years. When even companies like Ariba buy SaaS players and start converting all their legacy systems to SaaS, you know its time has come.
  • Companies that blindly outsourced their manufacturing to Asia will start bringing some of that capability back to the U.S.
    Already happening. I’ve been reading articles all year about companies that are pulling manufacturing back to North America, and not just Mexico. Area Development had a good article back in January. Yes, there are still more companies on the outsourcing bandwagon than off it, but it’s already started. Outsourcing will continue, but not for items with high shipment costs or low production costs where it makes more sense to produce them locally. Also, we’ll start to see more service outsourcing. With goods, you have to deal with ever-increasing shipment costs, but with services, it’s just the cost of the pipe that carries the bandwidth.
  • We are in the midst of a transition to electronic software delivery.
    This was my favourite as you’d pretty much have to be Rip Van Winkle to come up with this one. When was the last time you bought software that came in a box? That wasn’t out-dated the minute the CD was burnt? If this were 2000, it would almost be timely. But this is 2010!

When you get right down to it, the only good prediction that wasn’t either already happen or mostly obvious to anyone knee-deep in supply chain was Jim Miller’s (of Google) prediction that Fifteen years from now, the world will realize that China is not the juggernaut that we make [it] out to be. The nation faces a number of systemic problems, including the prospect of the mother of all real estate bubbles. Here, here! They won’t be #1 GDP for another 2 decades, and then they’re going to have to face all the problems the US has faced since WWII. They’ll always be a major player, but they won’t be the only one.

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