Last year, Rebecca Radford wrote an interesting article surrounding Mother’s Day and what supply chain managers can learn from our influential mothers. This coming weekend, like every third Sunday in June since 1972, is the celebration of Father’s Day in most countries around the world. It is a day to show our dads and grandads our appreciation for all their love and effort, despite all the embarrassing and goofy dad dancing and jokes!
From being a human climbing frame when we were younger and fixing all the toys and things we broke, to lending a helping hand to move us around the country to university or a new home, dads play an important role in our lives regardless of our age. So what lessons can we learn from our dads and how can that influence the supply chain industry?
My dad has always been there to encourage me in my latest endeavors, be that university, a work project or studying abroad. He took me to all the important extra-curricular activities like sporting events or dance shows, and is always ready to cheer me on like a proud parent; sometimes he gets a bit over enthusiastic. Moreover, when I call my dad, at whatever time of the day, he will be there at the drop of a hat ready to accommodate my needs; to pick me up or fix my leaking sink.
There are a lot of links in a supply chain and each player in the chain relies on others in the network to contribute to their success. Therefore, great working relationships need to be formed. In an ideal relationship along the supply chain, every player supports one another as they have common goals, such as reducing costs and improving quality, and have an effect on the overall success of the supply chain. For example, retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers should support each other by easily exchanging information and sharing data on factors such as demand and visibility so that retailers receive the accurate inventory order at the right time and place and there are fewer disruptions to the supply chain. This will ultimately have an impact on customer satisfaction.
In addition, we are seeing a lot of suppliers and manufacturers supporting companies to help them achieve their sustainability goals. For instance, two months ago, Apple announced it had slowly gained support for its sustainability plan from its supply chain network with 23 out of 200 suppliers committing to its program to use clean energy resources. A supportive network of suppliers can help improve the overall performance of supply chain operations.
Disciplined but Open-minded
Fathers can sometimes be very strict with rules, curfews, and chores – a somewhat abnormal situation to me. My dad is quite easy-going – growing up, my siblings and I didn’t have an exorbitant amount of rules and chores were assigned on the spur of the moment. If we crossed the line with our attitude, for example, we were given a warning or a lengthy discussion in some cases. But our behavior reflected, for the most part, my dad’s soft approach to discipline and parenting. The degree of discipline and open-mindedness has an impact on actions in all circumstances. ’
Being disciplined, in terms of the supply chain is all about being prepared, organized and having a strategy in place so the supply chain can run smoothly and finished goods arrive at their final destination in a timely manner. However, it is important to acknowledge that, as the supply chain industry transforms and your company and individual supply chain network grows, it may be time to change or develop the initial strategy. In order to have a supply chain that keeps up with the constant demand, market and technological changes, you must be flexible and also have contingency plans in place.
One example of a company that has recently made changes to their supply chain strategy to meet consumer demands even quicker is Target. The American discount retailer is exploring low inventory approaches by restocking more frequently in smaller batch sizes. It is important for companies to be open-minded about the potential changes to their supply chain. These changes could provide positive benefits, such as access to more consumers, and enable the company to increase their competitiveness.
Picture this: You’re about to walk out the door to go meet your friends, and your dad stops you and says, “You’re going out like that!” or “What are you wearing?”, giving his honest opinion on your outfit. Let’s face it, most dads aren’t that in touch with fashion and don’t understand the latest trends. But it doesn’t stop them from saying the first thing that comes to their minds. Nevertheless, their honest views can come in handy when you need some important advice on a life-changing decision.
We are seeing a lot of companies and their networks adopting open and honest supply chain practices, as transparency in the supply chain industry has gained a lot of recognition over the last few years. Supply chain transparency is no easy task, which can be off-putting. But investing in a transparent supply chain brings benefits to many stakeholders in your supply chain network, such as improved working conditions and pay for employees – this in turn provides companies with a positive reputation. Companies receive a better understanding of their own operations and consumer satisfaction and confidence is increased due to their demands of transparency being accommodated. As a result of this, companies and customers can make informed decisions.
A recent example of these actions is diamond jewelers De Beers using blockchain to track the supply chain of its diamonds from miner to retailer, to make sure the jewels were not used to finance violence in conflict zones. Supply chain transparency is on its way to becoming a standard practice. Therefore, it may be wise to join in on the action.
The characteristics mentioned above are necessary to run a successful supply chain. Through supporting all supply chain partners to achieve common goals and being dynamic with your supply chain strategy, the entire supply chain can operate more effectively.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads reading!
Header photo: siam.pukkato/shutterstock.com