Nurturing Supply Chain Excellence

John Gardner once famously said that “excellence is doing ordinary things, extraordinarily well”. However, when you consider that many of the largest supply chains have been around for well over a century, it is no small surprise that often they remain…somewhat ordinary. With time, we get set in our ways and innovation can become difficult.

For this episode of LokadTV, we are joined by Luc Baetens, a Partner and Managing Director at Möbius Business Redesign, who discusses with us how companies can create an environment that encourages operational excellence.

Excellence is very much scale dependent, with an “anti-economy of scale” - i.e. the bigger the company is, the more it regresses towards the mean. The more a company grows, the harder it is to maintain high standards. Achieving excellence can often be seen as highly counterintuitive. Sometimes it’s more about what you don’t do, instead of what you do. It’s also important to be able to install a standard of excellence that’s resilient and able to withstand the unexpected and turbulent world of business.

A change that first started in the finance industry, before moving to the software industry is finally arriving to supply chains: encouraging and recognizing exceptional people and their value within a company, no matter their age or experience. This was a phenomenon that helped to coin the term “yuppie” in the 80’s.

To conclude, we debate the importance of humans vs. the importance of the system in place within a company, as well as the increasing role of automatization in supply chains. In addition, we go into more detail on “hands-on” business leaders getting involved with the more mundane and grass-root level problems. For example Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk sleeping on his factory floors. But is this a desirable management style to encourage excellence?

Timestamps

00:08 Introduction

00:32 Luc, perhaps you could start by telling us a little more about your background and Möbius?

01:28 Which are you initial thoughts on excellence?

03:04 Do you agree with that?

04:42 What have you observed in the industry?

06:45 Would you say that in the supply chain industry it’s the individuals who bring the value?

08:44 What happens in reality?

11:08 Which are the methods you would use to encourage positive behaviors?

15:00 What is your opinion on the matter?

17:03 Should CEOs get involved at grass-root level?

19:23 How can you recognize top performers?

21:09 What advice would you have for a company which is trying to improve its operational excellency?