Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, more than 2,500 years ago, “War is a matter of vital importance to the state; the province of life or death; the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied.”

 

Today, many of the firms with which we work could write:SunTzu Opportunities.png

 

“Our supply chain is a matter of vital importance to our enterprise; in it lies the life or death of our business; it holds the road to our survival or ruin.”

 

Nevertheless, while the owners, executives and managers of these firms are frequently filled with great angst over the performance of their supply chains—and while they hold huge investments in inventories and expend large amounts monthly in salaries and wages on the people to whom they entrust the management of their supply chains—we find that they seldom have invested much (if, any) time in really studying the theories, strategies and tactics that might help them improve how their supply chains are managed.

 

Why?

 

We believe the culprit is the simple statement: “We know….”

 

These executives and managers believe that they already know all that they really need to know about supply chain management. They believe that they already know about all of the possible strategies and tactics that can be employed to make their supply chains more effective and profitable.

 

They hold these beliefs because they see that most of their competitors—and golfing buddies who are not competitors—are all trying to achieve success by employing the same tired, worn-out strategies and tactics that they are trying—and re-trying, and trying again.

 

“If everybody’s doing it the same way, I can’t be far wrong, even if I’m not perfectly right,” they seem to opine to themselves.

 

Meanwhile, there are the exceptions to this rule out there.

 

These exceptions are a group of small to mid-sized business enterprises whose executives and managers have decided to study thoroughly—to discover if there is a better, less traveled, way that can lead to a sustainable competitive advantage.

 

Among this fringe group of re-thinkers are found the firms achieving average outcomes like these:*

  • Lead Times – 70% mean reduction
  • Cycle Times – 65% mean reduction
  • Inventory Levels – 49% mean reduction
  • Due Date Performance – 44% improvement
  • Combined Financial Variable – 63% improvement
  • Revenues (Throughput) – 73% mean increase

 

Software may be important—even necessary—but it is not sufficient for gaining and sustaining such improvements.

 

On the other hand, new thoughtware is absolutely essential.

 

That’s where we can help. We would be delighted to hear from you. Contact us at your earliest opportunity to talk about it.

 

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* Mabin, Vicky, and Steven Balderstone. The World of the Theory of Constraints. Boca Raton, FL: St. Lucie Press, 1999.

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