What Differentiates the SC Winners
Number Three: Building the Skilled Mastery of Supply Chain Innovation
The third necesary investment mandate is in the organizational capabilities to gain a mastery level understanding of supply chain innovation. The key driver for building the core competency is the changing role that the supply chain practitioners play within their enterprise. In the past, supply chain practitioners were regarded as a function with more limited understanding of the strategic potential that high performance supply chains can have on customer and shareholder value creation. In the new changing role, leadership skills and broader business accumen are essential ingredients in designing and leading new enterprise and inter-enterprise supply chain processes, connecting the supply chain to the boardroom and managing virtual supply chain models where trading partner integration and alignment is key to success. The scope of this mastery transends just the function of supply chain. It must also bring together a shared understanding and greater collaboration across other interdependent functions such as sales, marketing, finance, design engineering, quality and others. By blurring the organizational boundaries of functions and focusing on the horizontal enterprise-wide process improvement opportunities, the future supply chain leaders have to understand and influence other areas of the business and participate in shaping corporate strategy.
Achieving success in this area requires deployment of new strategies that enable employees and the firm's key trading partners to gain skilled mastery of innovation through applied learning models. When designed appropriately, the models generate a self-funding benefit stream and a stronger skill base in the enterprise.
SC Winner's Circle
When the three key investment capabilities are addressed as an integrated approach, they can be combined to create a foundational shift to a high performance supply chain operating model. In this situation, firms leverage the full potential of their ability to predict demand at a higher level and for the remaining unpredictable demand, they build in agility and flexibility to adjust to the unpredictable nature of forecasting errors and supply chain complexity challenges without the excess working capital or costs that burden traditional operating models. Applying the investment in mastery in innovation, allows the organizational competency to quickly adapt to changes and continuosly learn and apply their new thinking to emerging challenges.
The ongoing nature of increasing supply chain complexity requires that the approach not be an endpoint based program, but rather, an internal capability to continuously innovate faster than competitors. Winners thereby continuously improve their supply chain operating system to deliver increasing performance advantage in customer, cost, capital and growth while embracing SC complexity that others find overwhelming. Further, the leaders can advance to the stage three maturity curve status and turn their supply chain into a competitive advantage that can be used to Outsmart their competitors.