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Are you Guilty?


Supply Chain Sins Guilty


Or perhaps you would create a different list?

Please do comment below.

I’ll be sharing these Supply Chain Sins at our next free Supply Chain Seminars.  And of course revealing some easy to fix solutions.  Registration link coming soon.


Why Seven?

I’ve been in a very fortunate position over the last 19 years.  You see, following almost two decades in operational and strategic Supply Chain roles, my second ‘life’ has been management consulting.  And so during those last 19 years I’ve been privileged to work with hundreds of different organisations across many industries and countries.

Now some of those organisations were outstanding performers.  And sure, some were not.  But most of them had committed what I’ll call here the Seven Supply Chain Sins.

OK, maybe just one or two, and not all seven.  But I can’t actually recall too many that were totally ‘guilt free’.  It’s not surprising really.  Supply Chain is complex.  And for many organisations it’s like keeping a row of plates spinning on the top of flimsy poles.   So sometimes all we can do is focus on the really important stuff, whilst other issues remain unresolved.

Well these seven, should NOT remain unresolved.  Focus on these seven and you’ll be ahead of the pack I assure you.


The Seven Supply Chain Sins

  1.  Lacking Focus and Direction.  This is certainly my number 1.  Most business have a very clear business strategy, but this often doesn’t translate into clear goals for the Supply Chain.  The result can often be wasted effort, resources, and money, as well as poor service performance and lost market share.
  2. Treating all Customers the Same.  This might sound odd, but customers are individuals and have differing expectations of your organisation. This means you need to identify and understand that, to better service your customers.  Committing this sin just leads to dissatisfied customers, higher servicing costs and wasted resources.
  3. Being careless with Inventory.  Sound management of inventory levels, deployment and replenishment is one of the pillars of Best In Class Supply Chains.  Why then do so many organisations under resource this function in terms of people, processes and/or systems?  It’s actually one of the functions that if improved, can have the greatest positive impact on cost and service.
  4. Haphazard Performance Measurement.  Some people might just be lazy.  Some lack suitable reporting systems.  Some claim a lack of time.  Maybe some are not sure how to approach this effectively?  Measuring the wrong things can leave an organisation is blissful ignorance of what is really going on.  Till it’s too late…  Measuring the right things is not hard thankfully.
  5. Not Appreciating Key Cost Drivers.  This is generally due to a lack of understanding of the end to end Supply Chain processes within an organisation.  It can also be due to silo thinking, and only focusing on what sits in front of you, or the budget area that you are responsible for.  This really is one of the worst sins because it leaves easy improvement opportunities just lying on the table…
  6. Not Investing in People.  It’s become a bit of a tired expression hasn’t it?  Our strength is our people.  Or our greatest asset is our people.  Do we actually all believe that still?   I sometimes wonder.  I see so many people struggling in organisations just for the lack of some basic technical training or education.  And some of the knowledge ‘gaps’ are very common across organisations.
  7. Poorly Utilised Assets.  Be these people, systems, vehicles, facilities or inventory.  The right asset mix can rarely be perfect.  We operate in a very fluid environment sometimes.  But we should at least get as close as we can.  Sadly some organisations are way off the mark.


What others would you add to the list?

I think poor communication is one.  But I’ll cover that off in ‘Focus and Direction’.

Feel free to add your feedback or other Supply Chain Sins in the comment boxes below.

Then I’ll make this the topic of our next free seminar series coming up in November/December here in Australia.  If you don’t already recieve invitations, you can make sure that you do right here: Supply Chain and Logistics Seminars


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