Friday, May 30, 2014

Have an “oops” day..

For most companies today there is great room for improvement in the supply chain. It is cautious, reactive and traditional. We have designed it to be that way. Companies want a supply chain that is more aligned and agile. But, guess what? We have not designed it to be that way.

Supply Chain leaders will state in one breath that they want to be innovative and try new technologies; however, in the next sentence, they will ask for a definitive Return on Investment (ROI) for a project. How can you drive innovation if you hamstring yourself to only take a step to try a project with a definitive ROI? 

While we sell software tools for the supply chain sometimes it's important to take a step back as well and before throwing technology at a problem, see where it's needed most. Then work with your technology partner build a long lasting solution. 

I encourage everyone to have an “oops” day. What is an “oops” day? It is a day for you to have a mea culpa meeting with your team. It is a meeting where you don’t pretend anymore that everything is wonderful. And, where teams don’t prepare pretty charts to tell you everything is glorious. Instead, you book the biggest conference room in the building (or just all head to the lunchroom)  and invite a everyone to review what happened last year.

To get ready for your meeting ask each person to write down the number of “oops” moments, or issues, that they felt over the last year. As part of the meeting, record all of the misses on chart paper and tape them to the wall.
(This is why you need a big wall and lots of paper.)

An “oops moment” could be:

  • A product sold more than expected and you could not meet the customer service goals. 
  • A Product quality issue for example reliability issues with a new product or a launch that created problems. 
  • A product that undersold in the market. you bought too much inventory and the company was stuck with product to be written off. 
  • Employee turnover was high and there were not enough people to perform all the work.
After putting them on the wall, step back and ask a series of questions:

What are the root issues?
Where are we failing?
What are we doing well?

Then ask the group to work in smaller groups to answer the questions of:

  • What data is available that we could use to be more responsive?
  • Could new forms of analytics help?  ( This is where TSH can help....) 
  • How could we improve outcomes through better work? 
  • Example: S&OP - Setup standard operating procedures and follow them? 
Then give the group an innovation fund. Ask them where you should spend your money to drive iterative progress. And then choose a task to get started.

For more interesting idea's on how to transform your supply chain visit 
I think that there is promise in the adoption of new forms of analytics. It is an iterative process. but as we utilize new tools we can do more with less and create better solutions to our problems. 

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to
Click here and tell us how we can help you with your business solutions.