Charlie Kantz is a successful Supply Chain executive with over 20 years experience. Charlie has created a Collaborative Supply Chain with all vendors, factories, Freight Forwarders and carriers involved. According to Charlie ‘This Collaborative Supply Chain was able to help me reduce my cost per carton by $4.00 per carton (approx 20%) and reduced transit time by an average of 6 days (approx 15%) across the country. I was also able to have Visibility throughout my entire Supply Chain, so that I could react to market changes within the company and redirect goods while still intransit.’
I asked Charlie to provide some insights based on his experiences in developing a successful collaborative network. Everyone discusses a ‘framework’ for collaboration and below Charlie Kantz provides his viewpoints on the special needs of developing a framework in a collaborative network.
Charlie, can you describe your viewpoint for developing a collaborative framework?
If anybody has ever had Zoysia grass you know that it not only is very difficult to get get rid of but that it also takes over everything. Zoysia grass grows above the ground along with below the ground, creeping and taking over every thing around it. Your company’s Collaboration efforts should be similar to this.
Most people think that Collaboration is just outside of your company and deals with your vendors, carriers and customers, but it should go a lot deeper than that. While you want to work with those people for them to not only be able to help you but you helping them also, you need to work inside your company also.
Zoysia grass grows over the ground. This is similar to you working with your external customers, vendors, suppliers etc. People can see this happening. You go to a supplier and ask them to collaborate. You work with them at fixing a specific problem. It gets fixed and you are operating better. You have taken over that problem and are now working closer with that supplier. He might take what he learned from you and do it with another one of his customers. He has now expanded things above the ground just like the Zoysia grass. It just keeps growing out and as it does it changes the way things look.
Zoysia grass grows under the ground. This is similar to you working with your internal operations. People don’t usually see this happening. You work with your IT department to give you additional reports to allow you to have visibility. This visibility helps you determine what you need to do to make changes to your operation, and therefore establishes a collaboration with your “over the ground” network. Your IT department sees what they have done for you and then spreads it out to others within the organization, fostering that underground growth. It then pops up above ground where the Merchant, Store Ops, Marketing are all working and collaborating with their suppliers, vendors, customers to make changes (above ground growth).
Once you get these things going, just like with Zoysia it is hard to stop the growing and taking over until all areas of your landscape are now covered with Zoysia. Also, it is something that is hard to kill. If you have somebody who does not want to work with you on making changes, you will not let that stop you. This will allow you to change the companies you do business with, or that company might change to having a more cooperative person for you to work with.
The hardest thing about getting Collaboration and Zoysia growing is planting that first plug!
Now for the audience participation portion of this program……
What are your methods for developing a collaborative network to support your extended supply chain?