From a Necessary Cost Center to a Competitive Weapon….


That was the title of our two-part inaugural Executive Webinar series in collaboration with St. Louis University and we delivered part 2 today…The How – What does Supply Chain Need to Change and How?  You can ask us for the presentation and/or the recording if you would like but what we laid out for them were six domains that we think are critical.  Let me list them out with the gist of the message:

Process:  Needs to be reengineered to go beyond the contract and focus on value creation in the relationship – the marriage and not the pre-nup!

Role:  Needs to change beyond a Process Leader and include Strategic Business Partner, Change Agent, Internal Consultant and Relationship Manager!

Metrics:  Need to measure Value as defined by our stakeholders, not by us!

Relationship:  Needs to focus on mutual value creation and not just monitor and manage contract compliance!

Adoption:  Need to focus on adoption of solutions, not just the design and implementation.  Without Adoption(vowels), there is no value generated with just people, process and technology(consonants)!

Collaboration:  Need to change from adversarial (zero sum game) to collaboration (increase the size of the pie) across the entire system! Eliminating cost from the system vs. shifting costs to someone else in the system.

Based on our extensive experience in leading transformations as executives ourselves and helping other executives through their transformations, there are a number of lessons learned that we also shared.  In addition, all the participants also received a Transformation Handbook with our Top Ten Big Ideas from my soon-to-be-published book. 

Let me share a few of the lessons learned that some of you might find familiar.  How you launch your transformation (or any initiative) is the most critical step.  While a number of items that we recommend as part of our Rapid Launch (our thousands of alumni will recognize that right away) initially seem like time wasters to some people, they quickly learn (sometimes painfully) that every single one of those items is an accelerator and actually ends up saving a significant amount of time and headaches as the initiative rolls along.

The second lesson I’d like to share here is that almost ALL of the issues and challenges you will face in any transformation (or any initiative) have two attributes in common – they’re Predictable ( we can guess what they are) and they’re Inevitable ( high degree of certainty that they will occur).  Alumni will recognize this as the Megaphone discussion.  Given those attributes, these issues and challenges must be dealt with during or before initiation because the longer you wait, the exponentially more effort they will take.

Another lesson we shared was that you and your organization need a totally different set of competencies for successful transformations and this is a CSF and a pre-requisite.  Functional or tactical competencies are abundant in most organizations when in fact it’s the strategic competencies that are far more critical.  A focus on getting people trained on negotiations is of little value if they don’t have the competencies to deliver to the additional roles (see above) we are expected to play.  What’s needed to be a change agent and consultant is totally different than what’s needed to send out the best RFP or the best warehousing strategy.  In fact, the next webinar on November 17th will be devoted to Talent Management and competency development.

Please join us next time in this very exciting collaboration with St. Louis University.  If you would like to get a copy of the presentation or the webinar or you would like some more details on anything discussed above, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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