Just to keep our records straight our central aim at achieving a proactive strategy is to convert
something that sucks to something that doesn’t suck.
Emphasis Is on proactive strategy!
For those who have been following me or working with me on my approach to brining proactive strategies to life would have realized by now the remarkable power a proactive strategy brings to the table ,meaning, bringing your strategic vison to the necessary oxygen with ease and create a positive environment in your customers hearts and minds which produces essential gravitas towards your brand you have been nurturing all the way along.
For new readers
Those friends who have come across me just now and interested to know about what I mean by proactive strategies please follow this link. Regardless of the profession/ business you are in, I am sure we have something to share with each other. Link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-proactive-strategy-combine-lean-digital-analytics-pradeep-mishra/?trackingId=4YJbKBD1TT%2BazRkFLv72ow%3D%3D
I repeat my promise of keeping this discussion simple and jargon free to help us allow creative thinking without digressing from the core issue/goal here.
A Real situation!
Let me share this real and fresh situation which surfaced during an exploratory conversation with Glen. He is a leader in sizable supply chain solutions organizations, hosting and supplying materials to a variety of customers from Healthcare, Transport, Car makers etc.
This conversation started with discussing goals and slowly slipped towards issues that create hinderance to Glen’s vision and goals, trust me, issues were all over the place, but they had few aspects in common, like, issues/goals being discussed all led to impacts their presence had on revenue (more the better) and cost of doing the business (lesser is better).
One issue which caught my attention particularly because, it required an element of out-of-box thinking (at least I thought so to begin with).
How a preventative strategy is done today?
To ease your curiosity, this issue related to poor with-in-the-team-communication, collaboration, poor-visibility of the materials being supplied and never-ending-queries about-order-status. On probing it little further, we realized it’s that Glen’s teams are willing to share this required information by all the stakeholders at before-during-after stages of Supply Chain action. To put into perspective before = order preparation stage, during= delivery of material ordered, after = reporting stage once the delivery has been made. The issue was that, the information shared only when someone has enquired or requested them, which obviously a very reactive approach to address this whole requirement. This reactive approach did not help to win hearts and minds of their customer, even after putting efforts (though very reactive!)
As a result, it symptomized in
1) lower appreciation from customers (they don’t tell when we are going to get the stuff)
2) higher cost of communication (endless answering emails and phones about where the stuff is including on weekends)
3) higher cost of delivery (staff loose time at the delivery so waiting for some to receive and confirm the delivery),
4) higher cost of administrative staff (they spent good amount of the day locating where the stuff is)
Let us visualize this!
You can easily imagine a train under the tunnel, which is moving but not visible to anyone and all you see it entered / exited the tunnel and no one knows what happened in between. Surprisingly, it is so very common occurrence very frequent in a fast-paced high-volume supply chain environment
It seems like everyone in the entire chain is asking one question “Where is my stuff?”
It even surprised me how seemingly different out of the world issues have so much in common when it comes to address these issues by deploying proactive thinking
As we would realize by now, one effective to way eliminate risks posed delayed communication is address between before = order preparation stage and during= delivery of material ordered.
How to do this? What is and how to bring in the new strategy?
A two-dimensional strategy is proposed, which is both proactive (from supplier standpoint) and predictive (for customer point of view) in nature underpinned by elements of Lean, Digital technology, things, Auto-communication and Analytics
Where, the supplier is proactively communicating and staging the material in a clearly defined physical area (makes it easier to locate for administration and move the material for delivery team members) utilizing visual management format (thanks to lean for clear visual management concepts) and the customer can predict where is the stuff relevant to him and when he could expect a delivery.
To achieve transformative effects (address all the pain points listed above) on the customer satisfaction without losing much efforts in the process (cost) of communication, it is recommended the use of digital
technological solution ( don’t worry , not having solution doesn’t stop you start right now) which helps convert your very physical movement activity into method of communication without needing any further efforts to communicate about where is my stuff.
An innovative and tailored-to-fit-the-purpose ready-to-use solution developed by Aurion Systems (i-ClearChain) proactively helps connect the physical movement of the material through stages by grabbing the process-activity-signature( pardon me about this mouthful expression) and auto-communicates it via a dashboard to your customer who has the very question “Where is my stuff? The only difference between before and now is the customer has been satisfied in a very elegant and negligible- efforts fashion
This proactive strategy as proposed will potentially be an effective step in achieving success for your end customers and be a simple yet emphatic way to re-position your supply chain business as proactive bunch of people by winning hearts and minds of your end customers
What stops us today to build a predictive and proactive strategy?
Like any other change in life we wish to head-on with could easily be summed up as follows:
1) Awareness of the issue /goal you are faced with.
2) Desire to address the issue or achieve the goal proactively
3) Knowledge of the solution addressing goal /issue which might be available somewhere out there
4) Your ability to use the solution to address the issue/goal
5) Sustain or embed as a culture to reproduce successful results
How to start the right after reading this piece?
I would recommend starting simply by just taking this approach, which has negligible risk, simple and yet an amazingly effective positive step towards our goal of a proactive strategy
A) Take pen -paper or manual method (start now)
Complete one cycle end-to-end of converting material movement information and try to inform your customer about where is your stuff (I agree this approach demands efforts, but the goal here is to be proactive in serving your customer, this could be a first step)
B) Take help from technology
Try to make the whole communication cycle autonomous using technology by engaging a solid, affordable solution partner
If you are a COO/CIO/Managing Director/General Manager who is spending more time in reactive/preventive mode than future-facing, please reach out for an exploratory conversation.