Here are seven books that I would highly recommend if you want to begin installing the new thoughtware that is going to make you a better, more effective executive or manager in today’s new normal of global competition, emerging markets and high volatility.



Relevance Lost - The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting


Read this one first.


Why? Because, when it was first published in 1987, U.S. industries were, for the most part, losing a heated battle for participation in a rapidly emerging world economy. Today, the emergence of third world economies as both threats and opportunities places your company and supply chain in a reprise of many of those challenges.


Several who reviewed Relevance Lost are convinced that the underlying cause for (perhaps) most of the weaknesses and failures manifested by American companies and their supply chains are exposed by this insightful work by H. Thomas Johnson and Robert S. Kaplan. In it they reveal why modern corporations and supply chains just like yours must make major changes in the way they measure and manage if they are going to survive and thrive. I believe it is critical for managers and executives to discover information that is timely, accurate, and relevant—as opposed to latent, questionable and irrelevant.


The Measurement Nightmare


This should be the second book you read. It picks up where Relevance Lost leaves off.


Debra Smith's compelling work will help you understand why today's competitive environment is forcing your enterprise and supply chain to compete on factors other than cost and price. Smith illuminates a proven pathway to dramatic improvements in on-time delivery, reduced cycle times / lead times, and durable competitive advantages.


This outstanding work will get you started on the implementation of new thoughtware--a prerequisite for real and effective change, in my opinion.


Orlicky's Material Requirements Planning - Third Edition


Next read this one. The Orlicky’s original edition predates any of the other works above, but this third edition is a must-read for improving the performance of your supply chain.


Joe Orlicky's classic tome from 1975 (Material Requirements Planning original edition) detailing MRP has been brought up-to-date with new information and concepts on supply chain synchronization. Carol Ptak and Chad Smith have thoroughly revised this new Third Edition. It reviews the poor business results produced by most of today's business systems, covering the core problems leading to such results; then Ptak and Smith discuss an alternative pull structure for planning and controlling materials flow. The book includes case study information revealing results from actual implementations of the updated methods. This excellent new edition reveals a revolutionary step for materials and supply chain synchronization in the today's new normal.


Demand Driven Performance - Using Smart Metrics

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking as when we created them.” -- Albert Einstein


Most companies and supply chains today are "also-rans." They are all using the same kinds of thinking with the same kinds of metrics and achieving very similar—mediocre—results.


The insights provided by Debra Smith and Chad Smith in this outstanding book can help you begin to see that the fact that "everyone's doing it that way" doesn't make it any less wrong or ineffective at achieving your goal. This book can help you gain new insights—if you'll let it.


The Missing Links

Time to take a break. Read this enjoyable, and very enlightening, business novel in the genre of The Goal.


The Missing Links delivers a powerful message on pathways to business improvement coupled with international mystery and intrigue. I recommend it highly if you're serious about finding new and innovative ways to improve your business and supply chain. It's a good read for all levels of employees, not just top management.


Lies, Damned Lies and Cost Accounting

Okay. Back to work. Read this hard-hitting, thought-provoking work covering why the math we use for most of our business metrics may be fine, or at least necessary, for GAAP-compliant reporting purposes. But, the methods employed by GAAP are generally unsuitable for long-term, effective management decision-making.


Accounting was designed to report financial performance, not model cash flow. Accruals disconnect cash flows from the timing and extent to which they occur. Statements of cash flow do not provide insight into what was purchased or how effectively it was employed in the process of money-making.


Read this book and I can assure you that you will come away with new insights, and these insights can make you a better, more effective executive and manager.


DDMRP - Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning

Pay attention to what you learn reading this book. Put what you learn into practice, and DDMRP will help you plan and manage inventories and materials more effectively and profitably in today’s highly complex supply chain scenarios. Put what you learn to work for you and you will enable your company to decouple forecast error from supply order generation; synchronize your supply chain with actual market requirements; and promote better and more effective decisions and actions at both the planning and execution levels. The concepts and methods unveiled in DDMRP are already in use in several major Global 1000 companies.



So, read. Enjoy. Learn. Make more money.


Let us know what you’re reading to become better at what you do. What new thoughtware have you installed at your company and in your supply chains lately?


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