Establishing a Proactive Supply Chain: Avoiding the Sinking Ship

Following college, I spent a couple years driving ships in the Coast Guard. When I reported to my first unit, I knew nothing. That first year, I learned a lot. Every day, I apprenticed under a fully-qualified officer where I learned how to navigate the ship, respond to emergencies, and operate the ship’s systems.

Living on a ship is an experience like none I’ve ever had. Everything, from the way we trained, performed maintenance, carried out our mission, and even the way we prepared meals were done with one thing in mind – to keep the crew and ship safe. Our proactive approach allowed us to identify concerns and fix them before they affected our operations, cost us more money, or compromised our safety.

We did this by checking critical equipment every hour, followed strict rules for navigating the ship, and received specific orders from the captain depending upon our mission, location, and weather. We did everything we could to prevent problems early before they caused major consequences because in many cases our lives depended upon it.

And it worked. During my time aboard ships, I never experienced a major casualty that compromised our safety. Every time a concern popped-up, we identified it early and acted to properly mitigate. 

So, what does this have to do with supply chain planning?

[Read: Easy Tips For Uncovering Problems Before They Turn Into Distaters]


Using Early Warning Indicators to Solve Supply Chain Problems Proactively

While major supply chain consequences aren’t usually life threatening, you can bet they have a huge impact on you, your organization, and your customers. Your goal is to prevent problems early but it doesn’t always happen. When something goes wrong in your supply chain you’re the first ones to know about it. And in some cases, you can spend all day running around responding to emergencies that you feel like you’re on a sinking ship (or at least one that is under distress).

A ship is most effective when it’s safe, and it is safe when we plan and look for any early warning that would indicate something is about to fail. Similarly, your planning team is most effective when they are avoiding problems and crises through preemptive action and not when they are fire-fighting after the event.

So, how can you avoid this mess?

The key is to become more proactive – like the ship. By identifying “safe waters,” you and your team will be able to create parameters that will keep you out of danger. In the supply chain planning world, this is done by developing a good understanding of where your supply chain works predictably well. To do this you need an understanding of leading ‘tripping’ points which indicate that something is about to go off the tracks. These tripping points, if well identified, can act as early warning indicators to predict future trouble in the supply chain.

 [Read: 3 Steps to a Better Statistical Forecast Setup]

Building a Framework to Proactively Identify and Mitigate Supply Chain Issues

Working with our customers at Arkieva, we have developed a simple approach to help leaders like you identify problems early to keep you out of crisis mode.

If you’re constantly finding yourself in these situations, then I want to invite you to join us for our next webinar on Thursday, June 29th from 11am-12pm EST.

It’s called the “4-Steps to Building a Planning Defense System.”

During this session, our COO Sujit Singh will introduce you to our 4-step process designed to help you build an effective early warning defense system.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • How to make the shift to using Early Warning Indicators
  • How to see the supply chain in a cause-concern-consequence sequence that helps identify the early warnings
  • How to identify key goals and metrics before building your defense system
  • Why advanced planning software is critical for early warning success

Breaking the Reactive Cycle

Many of our customers have successfully built an effective planning defense system, utilizing early warning indicators. This has given them more control over their planning process, and lightened their firefighting duties. This means fewer headaches and more time to do things they like about your job.

Isn’t that what you want?

Register for “4-Steps to Building a Planning Defense System” here!

See you on June 29th!

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