That’s right, don’t make that big decision today, Wait and use the art and science of delay to your advantage.
With summer came heat and a new book by Frank Partnoy, Professor of Law and Finance at the University of San Diego and the Co-Director of the Center for Corporate and Securities Law. In Wait, Frank proposes a contrarian perspective on decision making that suggests that slowing down your response time can yield better results as per a recent review over on S+B.
According to Frank, decisions of all kinds, whether “snap” or long-term strategic, benefit from being made at the last possible moment. The art of knowing how long you can afford to delay before committing is at the heart of many a great decision. This is a great maxim for Supply Managers to live by. There’s a reason that sales people often want you to “act now” and have you “take advantage of this deal before it’s too late” is they know that if you don’t act now, and do your homework, you’ll probably figure out the merchandise is over-priced, over-represented, or not quite what you’re looking for and that you can get the same deal, with a bit of patience and negotiating, from a hungrier supplier down the street.
And this goes double for software sales. If the sales-person is paid a variable commission based on total sales for the quarter, or year (which is a stupid way to implement an incentive model, by the way*), at certain times of the year he’s going to be very pressured to just make a sale, any sale, and all too eager to over-promise what he knows the IT department will likely under-deliver on.
This maxim should also be applied in the selection of new logistics providers, supply chain designs, and operating procedure changes. While it is imperative that your supply chain be as lean and mean as possible, it often happens that rushing to meet the goal only results in a whole lot of running as rushed implementations often end up with holes that require a whole lot of rushing to fill. And while it’s likely that you are losing money every day you don’t implement that new supply chain design that is expected to save you millions, if you don’t take the time to do a proper risk assessment, you could lose your savings five times over when a new tariff scheme gets approved in six months (that everyone who did their research saw coming) or a trade agreement expires.
So while you should be exploring new technologies, processes, and innovations that could enhance your Supply Management organization as soon as you discover them, you shouldn’t rush a final decision until you’ve given yourself some time to re-examine all the findings. (But then, once you’re sure, jump in with both feet. If you hold back, in Supply Management, even the best laid plans will fail.)
* While a software company should incentivize it’s sales team to sell more, it should not do so at the cost of customer success. There are better ways to implement an incentive model which will allow both goals to be achieved.