Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Spt-Oct 2014 Contents 54
pressures, and a slew of other distractions often
result in little or insufficient effort and resources
being given to this crucial area.
As a supply chain can touch many
departments, functions and people in the
organisation, managing changes needs to be
a structured process. If done haphazardly,
it could result in even more difficulties in
managing corrective actions. The people
factor is still a high influencer in the effective
In a supply chain, we can expect to see
many clusters of operations, people, processes,
systems and resources. If all of these areas are
experiencing some difficulties and internal turbu-
lence, then we can only expect to see problems
riddled throughout the entire supply chain.
Managers often resort to ‘quick fix’ solutions
to fix problems. This can lead to a weakened
culture of problem solving, and deny the
opportunity to better understand and address
the root cause of issues.
The result of ‘quick-fix’ or ‘fire-fighting’ due to
business pressures, or in some cases, the lack
of know-how or empowerment of managers in
supply chains, is detrimental in the long run.
Adding more resources to fix the individu-
al issues or to immediately cut a process or
resource to avoid any potential crisis is simply
reacting. Reactive solutions do not usually add
any effective long-term value to supply chain
deliverables, nor to the enterprise’s perfor-
So why is supply chain management, something
that has been around for more than a decade, so
complex and difficult to manage effectively?
The contributing factors to this question are
many. Often, as alluded to earlier, is the fact
there is simply a lack of understanding of what
a supply chain is, and how it is intended to work
in and between organisations.
The ability of business process owners to
understand the big picture is weakened when
there is no alignment to the management
strategy. If the link between the business
strategy and the supply chain are not clear
within the organisation, it is likely that
this is also not clear to the management.
Consequently, the leadership and priorities
to making the supply chain work effectively
are neither visible nor seen as relevant to
the business strategy and, therefore, to the
success of the organisation.
It is a reality that business models change
and evolve to suit the conditions in their
market environment. If these dynamics are
not effectively coordinated across the entire
organisation, the natural tendency will be to
see departmental or functional silos grow and
independent ‘sub-organisations’ emerge. This
is where we see performing results optimised
at departmental levels, but under-performing at
the overall company level.
The supply chain
As we analyse more closely the organisational
dynamics, functional structures and management
roles, we will identify where the problems and dif-
ficulties arise in managing the supply chain.
The problems and difficulties to effective man-
agement lie fundamentally in the misalignment of
key business processes, and the imbalances in
the performance capabilities of the organisation.
These misalignments and imbalances are the
direct consequence of both the lack of focused
management leadership, and in the various
independent changes made by stakeholders
in the supply chain. Attention to these key
elements will immediately transform the
organisation’s performance capabilities.
It may be surprising to read that these basic
conceptual failings are being experienced
in many companies, large and small. Left
unaddressed for too long (as is often the case),
realignment to restore the correct balance at
later stages of strategic development will be
costly and time-consuming.
All is not lost, however. If every CEO or senior
executive decision maker take a direct interest
and commitment to working with the supply
chain professionals in their organisation this
backbone of any organisation can be made to
perfume at its optimal level.
In Part 2 of this six-part series, we will elabo-
rate on the principles of managing supply chains.
At the end of the day, business decision makers
and supply chain professionals will better under-
stand the value of a supply chain structure that
supports the business goals of the organisation.
This six-part series on optimising supply
chain performance was written by the
Logistics & Supply Chain Management Society
of Singapore, www.lscms.org. Stephanie
Krishnan is an Honorary Fellow and lectures
for the University of Wollongong. She is
conducting research in the area of culture
and supply chain management, and is a
logistics and supply chain consultant. Joe
Lombardo has over 30 years’ experience in
corporate global supply chains and logistics
management, and is the founder of ESP
Consult. This consultancy is focused on supply
chains performance management, internal
trade compliance programs and free trade
agreements deployment. Raymon Krishnan
currently serves as president of the Logistics
& Supply Chain Management Society of
Singapore. He sits on the board of several
SME and works with local and multinational
companies to improve their business and
supply chain performance.
“Managers often resort to ‘quick-fix’ solutions to
fix problems. This can lead to a weakened culture
of problem solving and the opportunity to better
understand and address the root cause of issues.”
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2014
MHD Sep-Oct 2014 34-55.indd 54
5/09/2014 3:16 pm
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