The extended supply chain is increasing in complexity as a result of the increase in discontinuous change.  As I’ve mentioned many times, the increase in discontinuous change has been increasing and will continue to increase as a result of the increased impact of technology on personal and professional aspects of everyday life.  This increase in discontinuous change will continue to expand and drive complexity into everyone’s life, including your extended supply chain.    One result of the increase in complexity will lead to an increase in costs to support that additional complexity.  The key results of the increased discontinuous change and increased level of complexity within your extended supply chain is an increased risk of failures in your everyday supply chain execution along with your improvement initiatives. 

You will never overcome the increased complexity in your extended supply chain.  You can however address the complexity head on and one method to address increasing complexity in your supply chain is through a strong collaborative partnership program.  This strong collaborative partnership program will be the provide the key to taking advantage of the increased discontinuous change and the related increase in complexity.  This collaborative partnership will extend your reach and provide additional experience and expertise to help to overcome the complexities that will surely come about.  I see the increase in complexity to be a direct result of the increase in discontinuous change. 

Your collaborative partners will provide the basis and framework to address the complexity through the implementation and maintenance of a robust continuous improvement program.  This continuous improvement program will be the vehicle to drive and achieve the value that can be obtained through the effective utilization of your partners.  This continuous improvement program will in fact be the critical factor to obtaining the benefits and continued support of your collaborative partners.  I would suggest that without a robust continuous improvement program and the support of your collaborative partners your chances of continued success are dramatically reduced.  I would also suggest that a robust continuous improvement program will provide the framework and the foundation to ensure and encourage the open and honest communications across and among your collaborative partners.

The continuous improvement program will encourage your collaborative partners to participate and will also encourage the acceptance and support from all levels of the partner organizations.  The continuous improvement program must, however, include and encourage the participation from all levels of the partner organizations to be successful.  One benefit of this continuous improvement framework is the opportunity for participation from the floor to the senior leadership level.  In fact the most beneficial continuous improvement programs are built upon the participation and support of all levels of the participating organizations.  In future entries I will discuss methods to encourage the participation and areas that I believe will benefit the most from this continuous improvement program.    

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

Have your started or are you in the midst of an institutional change initiative?  What are the key traits you have identified as required to support the initiative?  Have you contemplated the name or phrase for the person leading your initiative?