Bureaucratic core of supply chain

00:08 Introduction
00:24 Why is bureaucracy a problem for our supply chains?
03:04 What kind of organisations is bureaucracy affecting? Large organizations?
05:04 What is the outcome of having many people involved in supply and demand related decisions?
07:01 What is the problem of having a “bureau”?
12:45 What can be done to make organizations more efficient?
18:00 Would you say that bureaucracy has changed over time? Are companies using more modern management techniques nowadays?
22:48 What advice would you give to find a sweet spot between specialist knowledge and the negative effects of bureaucracy?


With 95% of the world’s supply chains existing in companies of over 1000 employees, organizations must use a complex network of systems and processes. For this episode of LokadTV, we’re going to discuss just how bureaucratic these organizations are and what we can do to make supply chain practitioners more efficient.

Lokad is based in Paris, France, and so we’re no strangers to bureaucracy. But why can bureaucracy be a problem for our supply chains? Supply chain is all about the abstract, strategic decisions, which sets it apart from logistics and operations.

As soon as you’re at a level where supply chain is meaningful to your company, this high level decision making process inevitably leads to the creation of a “bureau” within the organization. This bureau, although it’s very unlikely it’ll have this name, is a collection of people within the company that spend their entire time creating documentation and making supply and demand related decisions.

The kind of people working in this bureau usually have titles such as “Category Manager”, “Inventory Manager”, “Demand Planner”, “Forecaster”, etc. This specialized workforce emerges as your supply chain grows in importance. It’s obviously a good thing to have specialized people doing this bureaucratic work and many benefits come with this. However, the downside is that various bureaucratic elements emerge that can slow down productivity.

For example, something that has been well documented is that a bureau will always want to grow faster than the rest of the organization. We go into more detail about the various reasons behind this.

To wrap things up, we talk about the dangers of S&OP for you company and processes that can waste time, such as needless meetings, and what you can do to combat this.