Supply Chain or "Person Of Interest"?

What's cooler? Optimized Supply Chain or the CBS Drama?

Look out, Reese. Getty Images

Person Of Interest is a CBS television drama about a conflicted, honorable billionaire genius software engineer, his black ops friends, his machine and his dog. It is best described here and here and here or by the 15-20 million people who watch it every week (including three generations in my extended family).

Supply Chain is way cooler. Learn about it here and here and here or by following the 15-20 million* different Tweeters that have some version of “Supply” and “Chain” embedded in their Twitter handles (including @SpplyChainROSCO).


Optimized supply chain is all about getting your customers what they want, when they want it - and getting that done by spending as little money as possible.  Person Of Interest is all about protecting the innocent, taking down the bad guys - and getting all that done in 60 minutes or less.  As you'll see, they are very similar.  

While Supply Chain – at first glance – may seem cooler than Person Of Interest (AKA POI), can you tell which of the following describe POI and which describe Optimized Supply Chain (OSC)?

POI or OSC? Secretly working behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that those entrusted to its care get from point A to point B safely.

Answer: POI. The trick here is the word “secretly.” If, in your organization, your Supply Chain team is a secret – you’ve got bigger problems than Finch did when The Machine stopped calling him. It’s critical that Supply Chain – designing (yes, you can design Supply Chain), planning and execution – be integrated into your company’s sales and operations planning.

POI or OSC? One step ahead of when things go wrong but when they do, an expert tactician – fixing issues on the fly with a nearly omniscient eye on the 360.

Answer: OSC. Optimized Supply Chain uses metrics – inventory control accuracy, supplier on-time metrics, purchase price variances, etc. – to anticipate potential downstream supply and customer delivery issues.

Those same metrics help a company prioritize and allocate inventory when customers’ orders exceed forecasts or suppliers can’t meet their leadtimes.

POI or OSC? Keeps out of sight, its eyes locked on its computer screens. Only makes an appearance when needed – i.e. to save the day.

Answer: POI. While that trope makes great and entertaining television, it makes absolutely horrible Supply Chain. When fully optimized, Supply Chain is a competitive advantage – ask Amazon and Apple. If it’s locked away in a forgotten library or – after that’s obliterated – in an abandoned subway station, Supply Chain can lose track of inventory, ship customers late, not manage leadtimes, etc. Optimize your Supply Chain and it will help you maximize revenue, margins and accelerate your time to market.

POI or OSC? Itching to take you down if you show even the slightest hint that you are the perp.

Answer: OSC. See above. Optimize. Now. Finch and his machine can only save you if you’re on CBS Tuesdays 10pm/9pm Central.