In many ways, a supply chain is more than just a series of processes - it's a living, breathing entity that needs to be proactively overseen and cared for. It's almost like the human body, in that one small mistake in one area can have a ripple effect across the entire chain in both good and bad ways. We've written a lot in the past about the supply chain management mistakes to avoid, but with Thanksgiving right around the corner we thought it was important to examine the flip side of that particular coin: the wins that make all of the hard work worth it.
Whether it's your first day on the job or you're a seasoned professional, one thing is for sure: every day is filled with victories, both large and small, that we need to slow down and celebrate. Not every victory involves something as grand as meeting yearly benchmarks - sometimes you just need to take a second to appreciate the fact that you rolled out new technology without creating a dozen additional problems for yourself down the road.
There are a number of everyday supply chain management wins that we should ALL be thankful for including:
Your Perfect Order Measurement Is Ticking Upward
Perfect order measurement is a term that means precisely that - the percentage of all of your total orders that are error-free as they make their way across the supply chain. This is commonly broken down by stage, taking a closer look at areas like procurement, production, transportation, and warehousing.
Anytime your perfect order measurement stats begin to tick upwards in any of these areas, regardless of how large or how small your gains happen to be, that is something that you should be celebrating! Not only does it mean that your own employees are functioning less as individual workers but more as a whole, but it also means that you and your associates are saving money.
Oftentimes gains in this area are less the result of one big move and more the result of a series of smaller ones. Take comfort in the fact that something you did just paid dividends in a big way.
You're Utilizing More Meaningful Metrics
Any seasoned supply chain management professional will tell you that measuring your performance is one thing - measuring your performance in the right way is something else entirely. When you're first starting out, there are certain metrics that you'll likely be tracking because you just assume "that's what I'm supposed to be doing." But the true insight rests in keeping an eye on the metrics that provide a look into the qualities you need to align your management practices with your long-term goals.
In other words, you shouldn't be tracking metrics for the sake of metrics. You should be tracking the metrics you need to measure performance within the context of what you need to accomplish. This process will likely happen slowly over time, and anytime you identify an opportunity for precisely that is a day worth remembering.
Your Suppliers Are Becoming Your Allies
In many ways; supply chain success lives and dies based on the strength of your relationships with key suppliers. In truth, most best in class companies continue to work closely with certain pivotal suppliers long after a deal has been signed for this very reason. This oftentimes requires something of a two-way street - both you AND the supplier need to recognize how important and mutually beneficial this relationship is, and take steps to preserve it at all costs.
You will likely make positive strides in this area every day - and make no mistake that is absolutely something to be thankful for. Every time you make an effort to guarantee that your relationship stays healthy and vibrant, every time you solve a problem in an efficient and respectful way, every time that you guarantee that performance measurement objectives are achieved, you've just strengthened an essential relationship that will serve both parties well for years to come.
You Have Identified ANY Area For Improvement
Finally, one of the most common supply chain management wins you should be thankful for is also one of the most important: anytime that you identify ANY area for improvement, regardless of how large or small it happens to be.
Think about it like this: any supply chain management professional will tell you that there is ALWAYS room for improvement in what you do each day. The minute that you assume that you've "done enough" is the minute you've lost a game you never truly understood in the first place. There are always ways to increase efficiency, empower productivity, and gain agility. The fact that you've not only identified one such opportunity, but took advantage of it, means that your entire operation just got better. It doesn't matter if you figured out how to save thousands of dollars or made a standard administrative process slightly more efficient - improvement is improvement and that is always worth stopping to appreciate.
About Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.