vw commercial with darth vader child

What’s Your Supply Chain’s “Super Bowl Commercial”?

It seems that in this “everybody deserves a trophy” culture, almost everyone is their own special little snowflake.  I know that’s a gag-inducing phrase but, unfortunately, there’s a bit of truth to it.  As you walk down the street, sit on the train or slog through traffic, everyone around you is deep into their own unique & rich story complete with a full set of challenges, advantages, and obstacles.   

The same can be said for companies, each company has a history, a culture and a vibe that defines its strengths, challenges and creates an organizational personality.  Everyone who interacts with the company knows this personality as well, as a supply chain deals with vendors, suppliers and partners you know they are different.  They shouldn’t be, but they are. 

So in a business environment where it gets harder and harder to differentiate youself from the competition, standing out becomes a challenge. Finding your niche and capitalizing on major cultural events becomes paramount in the way you distance yourself in the public eye. Marketing departments at this time of year use the phrase “the big game” to develop their own super bowl commercial and define the brand.  But it’s important to think smaller; each department, and each employee within, is it’s own special little snowflake with a distinct set of abilities, personalities, and needs that set them apart. So as we approach “big game” season, take a stop back and think: What does your super bowl commercial look like?

What's in Your Supply Chain's Super Bowl Ad?

Every supply chain has its own unique advantages.  Maybe yours has best in class response time?  The ability to meet an infinite amount of product iterations?  Inventory for near 100% customer service?  Low cost?  First mover?  Quick to get innovations to the market? 

Think about your edge and what sets you apart from the pack. Consider your supply chain doing your own slow motion astronaut walk a la Armageddon- what gives your organization the swagger of Bruce Willis being shot into space to save the world?

Godspeed, and good luck to your supply chain
Godspeed, and good luck to your supply chain

Live The Message

Don’t hide those advantages- leverage them!  Be proud of what makes your supply chain unique and figure out how to communicate that to your customers.  The nice thing about supply chain efficiencies is that every dollar saved drops directly to the bottom line.  Your friends in sales and marketing can’t say that! 

So find that advantage and lean on it.  It’s possible those in your own organization aren’t even aware that it exists.  Perception is reality, so make sure to show your advantages both inside and outside your organization. 

Supercharge Your Advantage

Many times organizations look to technology to fix their shortcomings.  There are times when that’s required, but in my experience there’s more return on giving your strengths the ability to shine.

  • Flexible supply chain network – Implement IBP supply optimizer to realize cost savings in a flexible network that would be impossible for humans to calculate
  • Customer service – Utilize IBP inventory optimization to maintain your excellent service at a lower total invested capital with right inventory in the right place at the right time
  • Market responsiveness – Implement IBP demand sensing to identify and react to trends before your team can even see them.
  • Tight Vendor Collaboration – Utilize IBP demand planning machine learning capabilities to automate correlation between point of sale or vendor information into a more accurate demand signal.

Sometimes it makes sense to be aware of the weaknesses in your supply chain, and in some instances it does pay back to close down a glaring gap especially if it’s preventing service.  But when looking for an investment with a higher ROI, you really need to leverage your supply chain’s strengths to let them grow to their full potential.  Be proud of what you do well, and when the efficiencies drop to the bottom line, the whole company will see you as that slow motion Bruce Willis (or at least Ben Affleck?) as Aerosmith wails in the background. Think about every little facet of what makes you, you. Even the tiniest detail means something. And you don’t wanna miss a thing.

(Note: for those too young to get the above reference, see clip from Armagddon below)

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