This year, try out a new form of resolution!
Written by Dave Alberts, Director, Crimson & Co
So it’s 2013 and it doesn’t feel that different from last year in terms of the same myriad of supply chain challenges to deal with (resulting from debt uncertainty in Europe, impact of the China slowdown on the global economy and increasingly volatile demand).
The challenges may be the same but the goals are likely to be even more stretching! So, how can we galvanise ourselves to have the energy and optimism to tackle what is going to be another tough year? Maybe with a new form of resolution and no goals!
It is the perennially time for resolutions - most of which we will not keep, but why? Well, resolutions are typically about fixing things that we are doing wrong, rather than focusing on making things better. Instead of starting the New Year resolving to "fix" things, we should take some time out to think about the activities that will make our supply chains stronger and more efficient, which will in turn lead to better levels of performance.
The realisation that change is required is the easy part – it’s the subsequent actions that cause stress. We all know the importance of goals, right? We therefore set ourselves goals to achieve. The problem with setting these goals is that they come with a number of unwanted side effects and we’re left considering - would we be better off without them?
When we set goals, we try to make them specific and measurable and time-bound. However, these characteristics often drive the wrong behaviour and a narrow focus. Many of you may now be questioning how we can expect to drive business improvement without goals? Well instead of identifying goals that define an outcome we should identify areas of focus and establish the activities we should spend time on. Obviously these aren't mutually exclusive and you could argue that a goal specifies where you're going and an area of focus to describe how you plan to get there. But there is benefit in having an area of focus without a goal if it results in moving forward on the things that really matter.
We should be identifying areas where our time is better spent, and then spend our time doing those things whilst resisting the temptation to identify the outcomes. For many, these areas of focus will be on questions such as how to build service models to reach a larger percentage of the world’s population (physical logistics, payments systems, customer touch points) to reach these customers, how to deal with supply chain shocks, which could be environmental, economic or demand-related and how to segment the supply chain so we can manage it differently, depending on specific customer, product, geographical and profitability drivers whilst maintaining one consistent global supply chain.
With no resolutions to “fix” things and no goals to miss, it should be a stress free and hopefully more productive year for our supply chains and us!