“Excellence happens when your tools and processes are aligned with a shared vision, when there’s an understanding of the ‘why’ behind the actions….”
Following in the genre of The Goal, the now famous business novel by Eliyahu Goldratt, author Caroline Mondon presents us with The Missing Link – A Demand Driven Supply Chain Detective Novel. Mondon is a past-president of Fapics, the French Association of Supply Chain Management, and is also author of an award-winning and bestselling French business detective novel entitled Le chaînon manquant. This is her first novel in English.
Reading this book was a real treat!
While the mystery surrounds a character named Thierry Ambi, a brilliant and forthright consultant by the name of Lila Fractalle-Cass takes center stage in helping the H. Rami company emerge from the sudden passing of its CEO, a leadership vacuum, and its downward financial spiral.
The H. Rami company is suffering from all of the typical symptoms found in the vast majority of small to midsized business enterprises—and not a few giant conglomerates.
While struggling with the all-too-common “pyromaniac-firefighter” management methods, effective scheduling of production and replenishment becomes all but impossible.
So, just what is the pyromaniac-firefighting management method?
That’s simple: it means having an executive and management team that sets fires (unintentionally, of course) by applying bad policies and ill-informed metrics on the one hand, while taking extreme measures to put the fires out on the other hand.
This book is full of sound how-to advice and gems of wisdom woven into a fascinating story to keep the reader enthralled to the very end.
Here are a few gems and snippets to whet your appetite for this book:
- “Scheduling in a company that tolerates ‘firefighting’ is probably one of the most difficult and stressful jobs on earth.”
- “[L]ittle islands of excellence in a sea of mediocrity will not move [a] company forward.”
- “It is only when you know the source of errors that you can then make improvements.”
- “Excellence is the result of having mastered the what, the how, and also the why. Without the why’s you cannot motivate people to learn new things and pass this knowledge on to others.”
On Starting the Journey toward Ongoing Improvement
Author Caroline Mondon, in the midst of her novel, brings forward a compelling argument against those executives and managers of companies or supply chains who are trying to improve without articulating clear goals or developing a clear plan for improvement.
When you know where you are, and you can see where you want to go, you’re sure to get there in the end if you take a small step in that direction every day. And the good news is, the more steps you take, the more you’ll enjoy the journey, even if each step unbalances you a little bit. In fact, it’s precisely these small destabilizations that allow you to adjust your course to adapt to unpredictable external events. This way, you’re always getting closer and closer to your goal, even if your goal shifts somewhat. Remember, continuous improvement is a journey, not a destination.
Like men and women wandering aimlessly in a wilderness, we come across companies where there is no clear trajectory on a path of improvement. Instead, we find them retracing their footsteps over and over again—trying again and again the same tactics that have produced no durable improvements in the past.
If you and your management team are finding yourself wandering over the same ground again and again without lasting improvement, then I would suggest you read this book. This book is for CEOs, CFOs, supply chain managers, and anyone else involved in management of manufacturing, distribution or supply chains.
Read it! You’ll be glad you did.