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Business Process Management: The Key for Successful IT Intervention

With the influx of so many advanced technology breakthroughs like Advanced Sensors, Cloud Computing, 3D Printing, Mobile Collaboration, Agile Robots, Virtual Reality Devices and much publicized and celebrated Digital Revolution, it really makes it hard for the corporations to resist the lure of these promising developments, which not only seems to change the future of business landscape but also inducing innovative and ground breaking business models in the market. Even the big corporations, that once upon a time seems “too big to fail” are hard pressed to innovate faster and extract the best out of these technologies to not only hold their grounds but also to beat their newly developed competition.

The Tricky Part

Now to be in sync with the market development and at times to make a great leap, companies often got hurried up in adopting these fast paced evolving developments, without exercising much due diligence of the impacted business processes that ultimately cause adverse effects on desired performance KPIs like increasing service level, reducing cost, increasing turnover etc.

The problem here doesn’t lies in embracing these IT systems and technologies but in the mindset of its adopters who basically always want to maintain status quo in their business processes yet like to create the maximum impact with just the inclusion of these IT systems. They are open to implement new advanced IT systems and processes but are reluctant to tweak or say transform their operational model because of many reasons that are out of scope of this blog-post.

My focus here are not on the revolutionary firms that had disrupted the market with their state-of-art business model by harnessing these radical technological developments but are aimed towards those organization that have a well-established business running from the past but presently struggling to exploit the potential benefits out of their aspirational technology investments to cope up with fast changing business dynamics.

Business Process Management: The Definition

This concept is around for a long time now but with the pace of developments happening around, the risk of ignoring it or any lapse in its planning, evaluation or execution could have multifold negative repercussions  for the business.

To put it succinctly, Business Process Management is an activity to identify different processes undertaken, define measure for its effectiveness and efficiency, monitor the process, detect bottlenecks or constraints by analyzing its results and re-engineer the process to generate desired optimal output.

If you are looking for standard definition from industry, it is defined on bpm.com site as:

“Business Process Management (BPM) is a discipline involving any combination of modeling, automation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business activity flows, in support of enterprise goals, spanning systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries.”

Business Process Improvement, Optimization and  Re-Engineering are one or the other forms of Business Process Management with strong interlinking.

The Necessity

To support this, I like to quote a reference from a study mentioned in one of the best and most reliable resource material for Supply Chain Management, titled “Designing and Managing the Supply Chain”. The research study focused on unraveling the linkage between supply chain performance and the maturity of business process and IT infrastructure. The research identified seven planning areas from supply chain to assess the maturity of business processes and systems at each level and the result obtained are described in brief as follows:

  • The most significant and surprising revelation of this study was that the companies who invested only in IT infrastructure but not in supporting business process perform even worse than those companies that doesn’t have both mature business process and systems.
    • One of the explanation for this dichotomy is cited as IT infrastructure requires significant investments which only results in information, and in absence of a structured and optimized business process the transformation and utilization of this information for an insightful decision making and continuous improvement seems to totally ineffective resulting in a bad strategy.
  • Companies with mature business processes and aligned IT systems achieve significant improvement on operational performance resulting in 75% higher profitability compared to market average.
  • Companies investing modestly in business processes have improved bottom line profitability and operational efficiency even if they don’t have mature IT systems in place and have 27% improvement potential when supported with relevant IT infrastructure

If this wasn’t proof enough, I got convinced of this hypothesis when one of our client approached us with the same problem, where they had invested heavily and implemented an ERP system but not getting promising results as sold by their respective implementation firm.

We analyzed their system and came to conclusion that their system are implemented as per individual stakeholder requirements but there is no synergy in their business processes across functions. Every department in isolation treated it as process automation where there current activity is performed through system now and even then all the operational stakeholders didn’t bother to even analyze their current business processes to make further improvements in their operational performance.

This kind of situations cause confusion and multi-fold damages to the firm. Now to add to it with our consulting intervention (further investment for the company)  led to streamlining their business processes with optimal resolution and delivering the much improved operational performance through integrating and aligning all functions of their organization to achieve targeted business performance. Also don’t forget the whole activity results in revised implementation of ERP system(another incurred cost)  but this time with meaningful intention generating focused results and achieving perfect coherence in between Business Processes and IT Systems.

Now some of the proven benefits of Business Process Management are mentioned as follows:

  • Increased efficiency and effectiveness through higher resource utilization.
  • Increased flexibility and adaptability to align with changing business dynamics along with reduction of cost for change management.
  • Business Value Chain creation with removed redundancies and non-value adding activities.
  • Consistent and optimized cross functional collaboration to enable continuous improvement.

The Path Forward

Now some of the IT integrators seeks that optimizing IT process is possible without changing the associated business process but the other way round , that is optimizing business process without IT is impossible to imagine. Well I agree to some extent for the later thought but in my view the first statement reflects a myopic view of their intentions and approach in their efforts of optimizing the results of intended business processes for the organization.

Well in my opinion any IT intervention should be first seen as business problem aimed at fulfilling specified business objectives. All the elements involved, like current IT Systems, Tools, Processes, Human Involvement(Knowledge, Skills, Participation) should be duly considered and evaluated before embarking on an aspirational journey of transforming business for the good with revolutionary yet expensive technology available at organization disposal.

The BPM Sources

Once organization realized the importance of Business Process Management for a successful IT intervention, there are many tools and frameworks available in the market to efficiently execute this activity.

Also it is recommended to get an expert help or hire consultant as their experience in enforcing best practices and optimization methodologies would help in optimizing the overall productivity and profitability by setting the right step in the direction of Process Improvement and Optimization and achieve stipulated goals in a timely manner.

Please follow links below to learn more about BPM and set yourself to fly safe and sound into the future:

A blog listing with I guess everything on Business Process Management(BPM)

https://bpmfundamentals.wordpress.com/resource-list/

 A site dedicated for Business Process Management(BPM) professionals

http://bpm.com/

S&OP: The Evolving Supply Chain Lifeline

Being a Supply Chain Practitioner, Observer and Analyzer, recently one concept that really caught my imagination and seems to be the Holy Grail for manufacturer, distributor or retailers is “Sales and Operation Planning”. Now one would say, we all do it, we have the whole process sorted out with plethora of meetings scheduled each month or quarter and that very interestingly involves most of the business functions like Finance, HR, Sales , Marketing, Materials, Product, Operations.

But even if the whole recipe for an effective planning is established , the companies are still facing regular challenges of  Stock-outs, Low inventory turnover, Lost customers, Supply interruption, Forecast errors, Inventory Pile ups, Markdowns, Customer Service Degradation,Increased Obsolescence, etc.

These persistent issues have provided enough inkling to revisit the S&OP basics and track down the real obstruction for materializing an effective S&OP, build with enough tolerance in order to counter the ever changing dynamics of supply chain and deliver results as per the strategic goals targeted by an organization.

S&OP As They Say:

APICS defined it as “A process to develop tactical plans that provide management the ability to strategically direct its businesses to achieve competitive advantage on a continuous basis by integrating customer focused marketing plans for new and existing products with the management of supply chain.”

  • The Process brings together all the plans for the business(sales, marketing, development, manufacturing, sourcing and financial) into one integrated set of plans.
  • The plan covers horizon for near to intermediate term and links the strategic plans for the business with its execution and reviews performance measures for continuous improvements.

To put it succinctly, I like to quote Tom Wallace and Bob Stahl as they define S&OP as “a set of decision-making processes to balance demand and supply, to integrate financial and operational planning, and to link high level strategic plans with day-to-day operations.”

S&OP: Supply Chain Nerves Control

S&OP forms the brain that controls the whole supply chain nerves directing what products to make, how much to make, where to make, how much to procure, right inventory level, where to distribute, what products to be introduced, promotions, etc. in terms of both value and volume and are soundly based on the signals received through demand forecasts, capacity constraints, financial constraints, company policies etc. along with strategic objectives of organization.

Today it’s just not the organizations that are in competition but there is whole “Supply Chain Network War” out there and to grab a winning edge by providing the desired product at the right time and place, an effective and collaborative “S&OP” plays the most crucial role.

S&OP: What’s Different Now

The table below very clearly depicts the required elements gone into standard S&OP process. Implementing the underlined process with a disciplined and structured approach have served some of the organizations well by reaping in benefits like efficient operation, reduced costs etc. but with the increased complexity in form of ever changing customer loyalty and

BCG

requirements, shrinking lead times, short product life cycle, evolving technologies etc. has called for a much more sophisticated, collaborative, robust, agile and responsive S&OP processes in place. The time to react in the marketplace is constantly getting shorter and organizations need to continuously reconcile their supply chain strategy in order to fulfill the strategic objectives of the company.

With the elongated supply chain both downstream and upstream there is increased complexity in value chain resulting in little control and visibility over the processes, demand and resources. The frail relationship within the supply chain stakeholders has only aggravated the situation, where the supposedly well run S&OP processes are now struggling in making accurate forecasting and planning.

Today’s global business environment demands for an integrated decision making, encompassing even the company’s customers and suppliers, along with internal functional departments of the organization. Working in silos will not serve any benefits but a focused integrated effort to realize strategic goals by establishing a collaborative network of retailers, suppliers and manufacturers will go a long way in creating a win-win situation for all the stakeholders involved.

Below are some complexity challenges highlighted that have an impact on current S&OP practices:

Booz

Advanced S&OP: Integrated Business Planning(IBP)

The increased uncertainty and volatility induced by above mentioned complexity factors has compelled the organizations to look beyond ensuring alignment and synchronization of company’s internal functions through making an earnest effort in understanding and decoding the dynamics of external environment and its effect on their supply chain as well.

evolution

Source: Transitioning from Sales & Operations Planning to Integrated Business Planning, Oliver Wight Americas

This shift to Strategic Management is termed as Integrated Business Planning and has following additional S&OP attributes associated with it:

  1. More Robust Financial Integration
  2. Inclusion of Strategic Plans, Initiatives and Activities
  3. More Robust Product and Portfolio Review
  4. Improved Simulation Modeling and Scenarios
  5. Improved Operational Risk Visibility and Management
  6. Gap identification, improved decision making
  7. Improved Trust Across the entire management team
  8. Easy Effective Translation- Aggregate and Detail

Source: Transitioning from Sales & Operations Planning to Integrated Business Planning, Oliver Wight Americas

S&OP/IBP: Seize The Winning Edge

Involving all the concerned stakeholders and implementing S&OP in the right spirit is of paramount importance to get the supply chain right in the first place and is inevitable to create a win-win situation for all the stakeholders in supply chain.

Success realized, not only could be depicted by quantifiable parameters like reduction in forecast error and inventory, increase in inventory turn & service level, contribution to top line growth and SKU rationalization but also instill improvisation in coordination, communication, anticipating risks, machine and resource utilization, which ultimately led to fulfill customer needs with utmost efficiency and effectiveness.

S&OP Journey to Advanced S&OP/IBP has elevated the role of this process and is now the central element in achieving strategic business goals of an organization. Although there are still some refinement possible to extract the best out of S&OP process. Some of those are as follows:

Harnessing Information: Till now technology has aided in bringing more structure, increase collaboration but the real glory lies in harnessing the ever growing data to have better intelligent insights not just of markets but of their partners also.

Prompt/Unobstructed and relevant information flow and visibility with complete synchronization of all levels of decision makings: strategic, tactical, operational and execution is vital for swift decision making.

Building capability to tap into the available granular information of external factors linked to demand and supply, like new channels, new regulations or new alliances between competitors or suppliers, customers’ buying behavior, competitors’ products and pricing, etc. is the need of the hour and adapting the available technology to do so brings in the real competitive edge for the company.

Value Chain Driven: In today’s global business world planning between sales and operation should not be restricted with sales playing major role in determining demand but here supply side should also play a bigger role by reaching to extended supply chain integrated with complete visibility of tier-1 to tier-2 suppliers, having complete clarity of sourcing places, constraints, vulnerabilities, capacity, innovation potential, to optimize the product quality with reduced cost and putting out the right product in right quantity in the market.

Decision making should be driven based on trade off keeping in account the total cost to serve across the entire value chain.

Bespoke Strategy as per the Business Streams: As each business streams demands different service levels, extent of collaboration and information sharing, an enterprise needs to prioritize and adapt their S&OP activities, investments and attention based on product, channel and customer segmentation and molding their policies based on the strategic importance and its supply chain impact.

Streamlining Key Performance Indicators (KPI): Renouncing KPI’s assessing functional performance of different departments to a more integrated value chain specific KPI’s could help in deep diving and resurfacing the core problems hindering the optimized supply chain performance. Establishing a shared functional and performance metrics aligned with organization strategic objectives will help in increased collaboration, where incentive gained of value chain will far outweigh the results of functioning in silos.

Leadership Commitment: Last but not the least: Finally the right intention, right commitment, clear objectives and greater sense of purpose induced into organization culture is the only way to dispel distrust or any dysfunctional interaction among internal and external stakeholders. Continuous and dedicated engagement of top leadership is quintessential to set and drive the right behavior and balance in organization.

Just to conclude I like to quote one of my favorite lines from Kirby Ferguson:

‘We are not self-made. We are dependent on one another. Admitting this to ourselves isn’t an embrace of mediocrity and derivativeness, it’s a liberation from our misconceptions.” 

References:

George Palmatier and Colleen Crum,Transitioning from Sales & Operations Planning to Integrated Business Planning, Oliver Wight Americas (http://georgepalmatier.com/white-papers/transition-sop-ibp-palmatier.pdf)

The Hidden Supply Chain Engine: Sales and Operation Planning, BCG India,(http://www.bcgindia.com/documents/file83399.pdf)

A Fresh look at Sales and Operation Planning: Booz & Company (http://www.strategyand.pwc.com/media/file/Fresh_Look_Sales_Operations_Planning.pdf)

Sales and Operational Planning Process: Anand Subramaniam (http://www.slideshare.net/anandsubramaniam/sop-process)

The Toyota Way -Beyond Manufacturing Excellence, A way of Life for Organizations and Individuals

As a budding Supply Chain Professional, I am into practice of identifying and covering all the best Supply Chain Texts written over a period of time, which not only reflects some intriguing concept but also stood the test of time. As obvious, The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker leads the pack here.

Much has been written about this celebrated book and as for many this masterpiece is a peek in the window of much powerful system and concept of lean. But going through this book it made me realize that the conceptualization and execution of Toyota Production System devised by “super sensei” Taiichi Ohno is just not a way of production but an activity driven by deep cultural philosophy of respect, precision, reflection and strive for excellence.

Also as mentioned by the author, many of manufacturing giants did tried to emulate the Toyota Production System with little success as they missed out the real essence of driving elements of a true lean system which extend beyond establishing processes and technology and majorly revolve around people, where the prior two act as an enabler rather than bringing a winning differentiation.

Toyota’s tryst with success lies in the strong foundation laid down by its founder, Sakichi Toyoda, a great engineer and also revered as Japan’s “King of Inventors”, who has its humble beginning by developing power driven-wooden looms, which ultimately work through relentless hard work, perseverance and discipline led to the making of sophisticated automatic power loom all by himself.

Toyoda beliefs in “trying things on own or get your own hand dirty to grasp and understand the real problem” and his emphasis to look for “continuous improvement” with the strong intention to “contribute to the society” defines its working style and very much embedded in Toyota’s Culture, and are being major pillar of the organization consistent great performance.

The legacy of Sakichi Toyoda in some way was dazzled by his son, Kiichiro Toyoda, who following his footsteps made his own mark on automobile industry with Toyota Motor Corporation. He is something of his own to contribute as the more popular “Just-in-time” manufacturing nurtured under his guidance to look beyond prevalent production practices more suited to Japanese Automobile Market. He demonstrated being a visionary, innovative, practical and adaptive captain for his organization that truly holds the value and ideals of Toyoda Family.

Subsequently many executives from Toyoda family have their strong impact and great contribution in building the organizations but all follows the same beliefs in rendering their service for organization. I will quote the exact lines of internal Toyota Way document as mentioned in the book by author Jeffrey.K Liker.The document states:

“We accept challenges with a creative spirit and the courage to realize our own dreams without losing drive or energy. We approach our work vigorously with optimism and a sincere belief in the value of our contribution.”

“We strive to decide our own fate. We act with self-reliance, trusting in our own abilities. We accept responsibility for our conduct and for maintaining and improving the skills that enable us to produce added value.” 

Pretty strong statements, easier said than done, but at Toyota each employee take this to their hearts and time to time they have proved, that keeping the right spirit one can achieve anything that seems impossible. To feel their relentless pursuit to achieve the impossible, please do go through the story mentioned by author on development of highly successful cars “Prius” and “Lexus” and you will realize how they “walk their talk”.

In this book author has very beautifully captured all the elements that worked together as a system, which many company missed out focusing more on one aspect at the expense of other and thus be deprived of real benefits of a lean system.

Author has mentioned those elements through its 4P model as shown below:

4p-toyotaway

As the picture clearly demonstrates the very sub-elements of those major elements which the company pursues to be a truly lean organization, you can obtain more details of those sub-elements very descriptively explained by author in his book with some fascinating examples provided.

Before we proceed I like to point out that in this blog post I am not going to explain the methodology or tools for being a lean enterprise and somebody seeking the same can better turn up to this book so as to build the real base or foundation of lean through intricate understanding of each element and the reason and importance of their coherence in creating a lean enterprise.

But here in my blog post I am very much inspired by the principles followed in designing the lean concept and can totally relate that these values and beliefs if applied by any organization or an individual can go a long way in leading a fulfilled life full of inspiration, discipline, creativity, innovation where success is shared by just not an individual or organization but touches many lives and thus, creating a motivating ecosystem where everybody strives for acting responsibly and achieve the greater good that benefits all. Lets take a look at these principles:

Long Term Thinking (Philosophy):

What it means to an Organization: First and foremost aspect of any successful individual or organization (may be with exception but largely) that they got the vision, long term foresight and think beyond the immediate returns. If you analyze there are many successful companies that continuously invest in their products, people, processes with not just the intention of winning the game tomorrow but to sustain their lead for times to come and had a practice of continuously evaluating themselves sometimes by taking a step backwards and examining that “are they doing enough to revolutionize the industry” or “are they creating real value for customer”. Those are the companies that make their mark in history. Amazon, Apple are some of them that I admire in those aspects.

To be a truly sustainable company, one needs to continuously evolve and rather be proactive rather than being reactive to counter a business challenge or tapping a concealed opportunity.

What it means to an individual: If you introspect as an individual, how many of us think in long term? We may have ambitions to pursue something of own, something that you are passionate of, but how many have courage to break the shackles of temptation of a secure job or immediate promotion coming.

If you see around the new age entrepreneurs and just not see their so found success, you will be amazed to see the perspiration of their toil, belief in their idea, and the tenacity and consistency of the efforts put in and just to mention many of them have left their high paying secure jobs to do so. They are not millionaires or billionaires just by chance but because they dared to think beyond the immediate gains and took the courage to walk an un-chartered path that they belief will bear fruits in time to come.

Here my intention is not to provoke anyone to quit their job but to make you realize the importance of thinking about your future in real terms where you hold for a while and assess the real value add-on that you are doing for yourself and the company. If the picture is hazy and you don’t see any clear long term objectives to relate to your current services then it’s time to retrospect for you, your team or organization to align the goals and activities in complete synchronization to get the best value out of an individual or team.

Eliminate Waste (Process):

This is something more technical and the only element most of the “so called” lean companies try to implement to look as a lean enterprise. But applying only this element serves a little and requires mandatory amalgamation of all three elements to be a truly lean organization. Some may claim quick benefits with this element alone but missing other three endangers sustainability.

What it means to an Organization: As an organization grows and, if top management are not committed to propagate a transparent culture, standard processes, continuous and shared learning environment and set up a mechanism of free information and ideas flow, the organization may trap itself in stifling innovation, reduced business flow by time as problems remains isolated, ineffective resource utilization and delineating its customer as real “voice of consumer” may not find its way to the real decision makers.

The right way is to define the objectives and make sure all the stakeholders involved has clearly understood the end goal to be achieved. Chart out the current process with assistance of people involved and create an ecosystem where all the stakeholders involved are able to communicate freely and are motivated to provide ideas to continuously improve the process by identifying and weeding out all the non-value added activities of current existing process and create a value stream that only encompasses activities that create benefits to your customer or align to your objectives. And please remember that it should not be one time activity rather the culture of persistent evaluation should be made flourished in the organization.

What it means to an individual: As an individual “eliminating waste” totally resounds with the focus. Majority of people I know lacks a sense of purpose. They are just doing their job day out and night, and involved in sort of drudgery. This lack of passion in middle level managers or top executives hurt the companies most as majority of them just fight to save their turf and is devoid of any real ambition to contribute to real positive change or enticing their customers.

The dearth of focus in life related to work, family and society led to create complexity where many of us running in haste to outperform other in terms of wealth, status etc. To simply put in the world of great Chinese deity Lao-Tzu:

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”

(But here organizations also are partly to be blamed as unnecessary bureaucracies, military style hierarchical command and control system prevail leaving out minimal scope for any participatory practice to accommodate small but valuable suggestion out of the employees doing the actual work. Remember ignoring these small continuous improvements may cause an organization to lose a big opportunity.)

Respect, Challenge and Grow Them (People and Partners)

This is the strongest pillar of Toyota’s success and in my opinion(based on my knowledge at present) there is no better company that embodies “the spirit of developing people” so well, and it’s just not limited to its employees but extended to external partners as well. There is lot to learn for organizations from Toyota’s approach for its employees skill development through their core philosophy of “getting hands dirty/go see yourself” and “continuous improvement” where every opinion counts and true leader/manager’s potential are based on the skill of harnessing the collective brain power and extraordinary capabilities of its team.

What it means to an Organization:  Building a strong positive culture is a pivotal element for aligning an organization vision with employee’s goals and aspirations. As we have seen, there are plethora of examples where after casting out of a visionary or strong leader, company flounders and had to strive hard to hold the ground. Why? Because every time bringing a new leader from outside with a different set of beliefs and one who does not have a grasp of real pulse of the organization may be more devastating. Developing leaders internally or bringing outside expertise should be gradually accompanied with strong cultural orientation of the organization is the right way to go.

Treating you suppliers with respect and developing and aligning them with organization culture can go a long way in executing the strategies effectively and will be beneficial for all to survive and flourish in tough times.

What it means to an individual: In his book The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry, the author emphasis “relationship” as one of core elements to constantly derive new experiences and ideas. Similarly, in his book Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson states that many of the best works in history are results of sharing, collaborating and challenging one another to explore the adjacent possible. Therefore nourishing respectable relationship in all spheres of life is vital as others can provide one with an insightful perspective that may have been overlooked by you but have a crucial role in enriching your work in some capacity.

Continuous Improvement and Learning (Problem Solving) 

Imbibing the practice of continuous assessment and challenging the established intra- and inter-connection among people, process and technology with the intention of achieving excellence is the most critical yet the most difficult element to pursue and requires more than a serious commitment by top management.

This culture needs to be developed and propagated in the right spirit, with graceful attitude and open mindset to bear the right results. In this book, Author Jeffrey Liker has cited interesting accounts where Toyota senior management led by example in demonstrating the practice of their philosophy “Go see yourself/Getting hands Dirty” and where all the management decision are not just driven by mere intuition or based on experience but it involves painstakingly collecting the real data combined with rigorous analysis.

What it means to an Organization: Blame game during the crisis or a failed attempt is a common trait across many organizations. Many times people don’t even dare to try anything unconventional due to fear of failure. But at Toyota the attitude of self-reflection and self-criticism is the most revered quality.

In today’s fast paced environment of fierce competition and quick success, any failed strategy is relentlessly followed by punitive actions and an instant replacement with a new approach. Such haste decision is only the recipe of disaster.

The organization needs to develop perspective where errors are welcome and viewed as a new opportunity for learning and the experience to be disseminated to the whole organization. Also rather than quickly rushing to rectify the failures/mistakes one must diligently tried to identify the root cause of the problem as sometimes the real problem lies somewhere hidden from the obvious visible problem. Toyota’s “5 Why” could be an effective tool to counter this.

What it means to an individual:  It’s true that many of us really struggle to accept our individual shortcomings and always shy to be honest about our weakness. Many of us don’t even like to come out of comfort zone to explore anything new and develop any new skills with always being in self-doubt of their capability.

I totally endorse the comment made in the book by a GM at Technical Toyota Center that “If you are recognizing your weakness with sincerity ,it is the high level of strength.But it does not end there. How do you change to overcome those weakness is real continous improvement”.

In my view to succeed in life two things matters most: “right intention and your will to succeed.”

Thanks a lot for keeping up with this long post.

To remind you once more that above mentioned points are just reflection of thoughts after reading this book, as I felt that the Lean Philosophy devised by Toyota is applicable to the organization and individual in general sense also. Again to build a real Lean Enterprise using right management principles and tools please follow this wonderful book.

Any additional comments and suggestion are most welcome. Again to absorb some of above mentioned facets I would really like to have my shortcomings pointed out better than any appraise. Your suggestions will help me in improvising by next blog posts.

Also any suggestions for next best read are also invited.

Source: The Toyota Way, Jeffrey K. Liker

              The Accidental Creative, Todd Henry

               Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson

Supply Chain of Tomorrow – What Supply Chain Executives and Technology Providers Imagine of a Futuristic Supply Chain

Thanks to Supply Chain Insights Global Summit, we got to hear real thoughts and expectations of Supply Chain Industry Executives of what they perceive will be the Future of Supply Chain.I have highlighted the major points below:

  • More Seamless and Synchronized Supply Chain
  • More Collaborative and Connected Supply Chain
  • More Transparent with tighter and effective integration of all Upstream and Downstream partners
  • More Effective with Continuous Improvement in Lead times to counter the ever shrinking product life-cycle of products in market

But to achieve or realizing these visions one thing that is underlined by all is “Readiness for the changeand this encompasses all stakeholders(internal and external) to proficiently cater the rapidly evolving needs of customers.

Now some predictions related to technology mentioned by Technology Providers:

  • Internal and External Cross Collaboration enabled through cloud where externally partners can share executable information in real time and internally companies will become better equipped in faster decision making with seamless integration of disparate departments not only to share but also to analyze the different possibilities to achieve the best of strategy and plan.
  • Robots making leeway in manufacturing in a big way.
  • Digital Manufacturing(I really need to understand this term)

How Technology to be harnessed for Futuristic Supply Chain, the thoughts are mentioned below:

  • Extracting the most of Data is the Elixir.Data is everywhere, to identify and distill the data for its most meaningful interpretation and sharing the same internally and externally to put it for execution is the key for a robust, agile, responsive and reliable Supply Chain.

Check out the links here for SupplyChainInsights Uploads on YouTube:

For more information about Supply Chain Insights’ 2014 Global Summit go to http://supplychaininsightsglobalsummit.com/

Is There a Role for Six Sigma in a Lean Transformation? Do check out the comments.

Below is the link mentioned for the article providing nice pointers on extracting out the synergies and differences of Lean Implementation in combination with Six sigma? Does Six Sigma a measure of ultimate lean realization or its just some fancy gimmick which may yield results for local optimization leaving big picture out in contrast to lean philosophy which focuses on continuous improvement(Kaizen) by creating and imbibing a culture that itself strive for perfection.

Do check out valuable insights out in comments section below article and let me know your view for the same.

via

Food for Thought-The Next Great Disruption Coming to Supply Chains

The following link provides an interesting insight and outlook, when it comes to design a supply chain strategy.The author has highlighted a critical dimension specifying “customer” taking a center-stage enabled with all time internet connectivity providing reach to vast of information in span of clicks and time of seconds.Today technology is really enabling companies to effectively tap the real time trends, gauging buying behaviors, etc. and utilize the same by creating a lean and agile supply chain where desired products can be manufactured and made available at the right time, right place with minimal cost incurred. In today’s time realizing this ultimate dream is not far fetched aspiration, Big Data and Analytic could really pave way for a totally revolutionized Supply Chain Management.

http://blog.kinaxis.com/2014/08/next-great-disruption-coming-supply-chains/