Daily Archives: January 21, 2011

Making You Smarter

One of Sourcing Innovation’s primary goals is reader education. If you don’t learn something on a regular basis, SI is not doing its job. While some bloggers simply spread the latest gossip to come their way, the editor of Sourcing Innovation slaves over a lit keyboard day-in and day-out to make sure that fresh new insights are delivered to you on a regular basis. But has it all been for naught?

According to this recent article that asks if this font will make you smarter, jaunty childish font[s] will improve your memory retention, help your kids do better in school, and make your wife love you more. Seems that all the editor had to do was find some random drivel, wrap it in a Comic Sans font, and you’d be better for it.

As per the referenced article over on LiveScience.com, research conducted at Princeton University has discovered that funky fonts may help students learn. In a research project, which presented two different groups of volunteers with the same list of words (one set in a common font and the other in a funky font), the groups were distracted for 15 minutes after studying the lists for 90 seconds and then tested. The group with the funky font averaged 14 percentage points higher. Now, the research project has not yet been repeated and it was led by an undergraduate, but it was reviewed by a faculty mentor and then peer reviewed before publication in Cognition, so the study can’t be discredited with the wave of a hand. The reason for the better performance may not be understood, but the message is clear. If SI wants to make you smarter, less knowledge, more funky fonts.

VFS Level 4: Stretch for Added Value

Today’s post completes our exploration of the four levels of Value Focussed Supply (VFS) as put forward in a CAPS recent research report on Linking Supply to Competitive Business Strategies and the holistic approach put forward by CAPS to get more value out of your Supply Management Organization.

According to CAPS, the final level of VFS, after tomorrow’s value has been created, is to stretch for added value. While SI agrees with the premise and many of the strategies that CAPS outlines for additional value creation, it’s not sure that “stretch for added value” constitutes a level, as an organization should always be looking for added value. After an organization creates tomorrow’s value, what it really needs to be do is work on its future supply chains and design new value into those supply chains from day one.

The reality with supply chains is that all sources of value, like all sources of cost savings, are fleeting. Once you stop the leakage, the savings to be had from that strategy are gone. Once you reduce TCO while improving quality by using an alternate material, current value has been increased and a new strategy will have to be identified to find additional value (as a single alternate material can only be substituted in once). Once you design an alternate component that requires less of a costly raw material and that utilizes more of the cheaper, more resilient raw material, the opportunity to increase value disappears as soon as the component enters production. Thus, once you create tomorrow’s value, you have to start looking beyond tomorrow because it won’t be long until tomorrow becomes today and a new opportunity is needed. This means that the supply chain has to be redesigned and improved on a regular basis — and that’s why the fourth level of VFS should focus on design for value in the next generation supply chain.

But before we digress too far, let’s review what CAPS suggests for an organization that wants to stretch for added value.

  • Gain or Unlock New Sources of Revenue
    by reshaping the supply marketplace, like Bentham did when it bypassed the traditional supply market to develop a new captive source that used alternate sources for steel and fabrication to deliver needed components 50% faster
  • Share Risk and Increase Integration Along The Value Chain
    like Carco did when it integrated with key material suppliers, toolmakers, and first tier suppliers, switched to aluminum alloy tooling for select parts, changed tool designs to accomodate model variations, and improved supply base capabilities across the board
  • Eliminate Unneeded Assets
    like Globalgoods did when it chose to rationalize the supply base to take advantage of relationships with smaller suppliers that it could use to negotiate additional value through equity value rebates (based on the suppliers’ market cap and level of business) as those suppliers profited considerably from business with Globalgoods
  • Create Competitive Barriers
    like Meditrend did when it increased integration of the entire healthcare delivery system to deliver better patient outcomes at lower costs

These are all good suggestions to add value, but many of the strategies either belong at other levels of VFS or need to be integrated in a broader supply chain redesign for an organization to truly maximize it’s return on investment. For example, an adept organization would partially reshape the supply base (through rationalization among existing and alternate suppliers) and plan to eliminate unneeded assets as soon as possible when creating tomorrow’s value and a progressive organization would begin integration early in the VFS as integration of related processes is often a quick way to increase current value. The real stretch is the creation of competitive barriers and the unlocking of new sources of revenue, but this often requires a new supply chain to support the new revenue stream or the competitive barrier the organization wishes to acquire. Most organizations can’t begin producing a new product or service without an appropriate supply chain in place. That’s why SI thinks the next level should be design for value, using the strategies defined by CAPS in conjunction with strategies identified by some of the early proponents of next-generation supply chain design, such as AMR with their DDSN2 (Demand Driven Supply Network) methodologies. A holistic strategy focussed on value-driven supply chain redesign is what a leading organization needs to take their TVM (Total Value Management) philosophy to the next level.

With a few tweaks, the VFS strategies, and the migration up the value curve they represent, put forward by CAPS is one of the best, and most inclusive collection of progressive value strategies that the doctor has seen yet, and a great overview for any organization that would like to create value by design (instead of by accident), but as a step-by-step guidebook, it leaves something to be desired. CAPS recognizes this and also offers up a framework, that will be discussed in a future series, but in order for the framework to be useful, one has to have the right data to support the strategy, which could have extensive data requirements. But how and when does one get this data? This seems to be a weak point of the methodology and a hole that needs to be filled if one is going to employ the methodology to maximum effectiveness. So how do you plug the hole? That’s the subject of next week’s miniseries. Stay tuned!