Kittens, Puppies, or Supply Chain?

Kittens, Puppies, or Supply Chain?

This or Supply Chain?. Getty Images

Sure, the kittens and puppies in this slideshow might be way cute, but how's that going to help you when your suppliers are late or your inventory accuracy has dropped below 99.5%?  Optimized supply chain will keep your business on track and protect you when you have interruptions in your supply

When my daughter asked me for a puppy, I made a deal with her.  "Look through these pictures," I said, "and tell me if you think any of this cuteness will keep your cost of goods down.  If not, then we'll stick with an optimized supply chain instead of a puppy."  My daughter doesn't really understand what optimized supply chain is - as much as I've tried to explain it to her - and so she agreed to look at the kitten and puppy pictures.  Not because of the deal I made with her but because they were kitten and puppy pictures. 

Enjoy them.  It probably won't help you explain how an optimized supply chain can do more for you than these rascals can, but if someone asks what you're doing, at least you can tell them you're doing research on supply chain.  Sounds way more professional than "looking at kitten and puppy pictures on the Internet." 

Demand Planning

Jumping cat
Customer Focused. Getting Images

Kittens love to chase laser pointer light beams.  Laser pointer light beams are erratic and unpredictable.  Supply chain managers do not like to chase erratic and unpredictable things.  But without robust demand planning, that's exactly what supply chain managers do.  Demand planning isn't just accepting your customers forecasts, orders or blanket orders as their real demand.  Supply chain managers who delve into demand planning know that historical analyses of forecasts versus actual orders, combined with inventory and throughput analysis, market research and competitive landscape analysis - help shape what you should be planning for.  Not what your customer tells you they're going to want.  With the right demand planning, you should know your what your customer's going to want better than they do.  Or go ahead and chase after laser pointer light beams.  Your customers will ooh and ah whenever you catch one, at least. 

On Time Delivery

On Time Delivery. Getty Images

Puppies chew on things.  It's part of puppy-ness.  Sometimes puppies chew on things until they turn into nothing but a nub of slobber and glurp.  If the thing started off as a shoe and ended up a nub of slobber and glurp, you might have a problem.  Imagine the shoe is your company's on-time delivery.  And lack of inventory control and late suppliers and poor planning are your puppy.  Don't let your puppy turn your on-time delivery into a nub of slobber and glurp.  Get your puppy trained and keep your revenue and customer re-orders coming.

Customer Relationship Management

Cute Kitties
How Optimized Are We?. Getty Images

Kittens will meow unit you give them what they need.  Customers are your kittens.  Whether the meowing for a saucer of milk or an expedite of today's order - your kittens will only love you if he give them what they want.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and optimized supply chain go hand-in-hand - i.e. give your customer what it wants, when it wants it, and spend the least amount of money possible doing that.  It's what your kitten expect, too.

Supplier Relationship Management

Optimized Supply Chain. Getty Images

Puppies and cuddling go together like, well, puppies and serious cuteness.  There's nothing that makes you feel quite as gooey inside as a warm puppy snuggled up against you.  Your suppliers should be making you feel that way.  Your suppliers should be working hard to make you feel that way, in fact.  You do the same thing for your customers.  If your suppliers have the leverage in your relationship and don't puppy cuddle with you - think about re-sourcing to gain some leverage, or to find a supplier that will.

Supply Chain Managers

Gotcha!. Getty Images

Puppies chase their own tails.  Supply Chain Managers shouldn't. Supply chain optimization should keep supply chain managers from running in circles.  Understand your supplier lead times, get your inventory accuracy under control and manage your customer demand - optimized supply chain can keep you focused on what's important, like gnawing on that rawhide toy. 

Supply Chain Metrics

Heart warming
Supply Chain at work. Getty Images

Sure, kittens and puppies are cute.  But nothing warms the heart like supply chain metrics.  If you want that kitten and puppy feeling all day long, work to achieve real-time supply chain metrics because yesterday's metrics are 24 hours too old.

Supply Chain Optimization

Cuter than supply chain?. Getty Images

Okay, this one's just too darn cute.  Not even Apple's supply chain can compete with this.