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Mark Powell, CEO of The Warehouse Group made a special trip from New Zealand to join us at Supply Chain School in November, and shared some great tips with our members.

Here’s a video snippet, as I spoke to Mark after his session.

Hi, this is Rob O’Byrne and we are here at Supply Chain School and we just had a fantastic session with Mark Powell, the CEO of Warehouse from New Zealand. Mark, I would like to say thank you again for coming over. I know our members really enjoyed, it’s going to be impossible to try and summarise in a sort of couple of minutes. What would you say, a couple of key things that you really would like to share? One I noticed was you’re focused on trying to keep things simple – don’t keep trying to be perfect.

Mark: I think Supply Chain contacts are important as well because Supply Chain can often come across as very, very complicated especially the CEOs who have not trained in that area. For me, keeping it simple is (1) really understanding how tight the framework should be by having a framework. Having a framework of purpose and principles that you apply to people that can understand by keeping it simple but then recognizing that the human brain is a wonderful thing and within that allowing enough freedom to think, train them on how to think – lots of good problem solving tools out there that people can be trained in, but keeping it rather simple, have a clear framework and allow people to have freedom on that framework to apply their brain, to do the trade-offs and the decision making. That’s a bit like driving a car, usually these businesses are just like driving a car, you have a clear map, you know where you want to get to but the route, you have to allow some flexibility. You don’t tell people when to press the accelerator, when to break, you’ve got to rely on people doing that so try and skill them to do that. So their simple framework and people can make the right decision within that framework.

Rob: You have a fascinating background in Supply Chain and broader business with Wallmart, with Tesco and all different countries around the world. One of our members asked you, where did your sort of journey improving your Supply Chain start or is it finish – you have quite a very interesting answer for that.

Mark: Well for me, it’s not about improving your Supply Chain, it’s improving what you’re trying to do with the customer and that’s what I answered in terms of the question. And sometimes Supply Chain isn’t the highest priority in that time of the journey and timing. In the warehouse Group at the moment, it hasn’t been, it will be as we move forward! For me, this has been my long life learning along the way, how standard is applied or how it’s going to be seen in the context of the business and it’s going to start in the customer. Sometimes Supply Chain improvement isn’t the most important priority in the short term.

Thanks again Mark for coming over to share your experience and tips at Supply Chain School.


Contact Rob O'Byrne
Best Regards,
Rob O’Byrne
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 417 417 307
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