COVID Category Management/Supply Chain: Permanent Organizational Competency



By now, we have weathered the initial shock and awe from this horrible event and have settled into the routine of working from home, securing enough PPE and trying to plan for the reopening depending on when that may be happening.  At the risk of beating that poor dead horse again, since this type of event was both Predictable and Inevitable, we need to transition into some strategic thinking and acknowledge the need for and build Organizational Competency to reduce our Response Lead Time (RLT).  These types of events (and not restricted to pandemics) WILL occur and just like you will be using your supplier’s RLT as a selection criterion going forward so will your customers.  Therefore, your RLT will now be a competitive differentiator having a significant impact on your company’s revenue.  This is no longer a Want but a Need!

We have been doing a lot of research into this topic and have identified six elements so far that collectively lead to RLT Organizational Competence.  We encourage and invite you to participate and contribute to this research effort by contacting us.  We are also offering a FREE COVID Category Management workshop series launching in June to qualified participants so please contact us for detailsIn no particular order, here they are:

  • Talent – It has become painfully obvious to executives that the competencies that they needed to help them in their RLT were quite different than what they had and where they had been spending their development dollars. The types of talent you need and where to recruit them from (given remote working) has dramatically shifted.  Your entire Competency Based Talent Management strategy has to be rethought.
  • Supplier Relationship Management Optimization – There are way too many proof points to continue this debate – those of our clients that had focused on optimizing relationships with their suppliers had a far better RLT (duh!). Therefore, becoming a Customer of Choice with key suppliers is a competitive differentiator.
  • Stakeholder Engagement based on THEIR Value Drivers – Sudden shifts in Stakeholder Value Drivers (SVDs) is an ongoing phenomena and therefore, the ability to identify the RIGHT Stakeholders and getting agreement on the causal link between the SVDs and your Category Management/Supply Chain strategies will be even more critical.
  • Risk Management  – When dealing with P&I events, analyzing those events for inclusion in Risk Management is of little use.  The objective has to be getting to Decisions and Action.  This is currently a major hole that must be addressed, and it goes beyond Sourcing/Supply Chain and therefore represents an opportunity for our function to fill that hole.  Carpe Diem!!
  • Processes – Strategic Processes must be extremely mature in Sourcing/Supply Chain and we need to be leading their adoption across the rest of the company. Processes must address and focus on RLT TRIANGLE PICTURE
  • Post COVID Category Management Strategies – Fundamental shift in corporate strategies which has to be reflected in our CM strategies. Influence of CM strategies may be far greater on corporate strategies.  For example, growth objectives will have to take into account supply chain risk till you can re-engineer your supply chain to go from offshore to near shore to onshore (illustrative example).

We invite your comments and encourage you to join the discussion.  We are also developing the components of the RLT metric and will have more coming on that soon.  We are also offering a FREE COVID Category Management workshop series launching in June to qualified participants so please contact us for details.  Stay safe.



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