Life would pall if it were all sugar; salt is bitter if taken by itself; but when tasted as part of the dish, it savours the meat. Difficulties are the salt of life. Robert Baden-Powell: Author: Scouting for Boys
Difficulties are just things to overcome… Ernest Shackleton: Explorer – South Pole
The Covid 19 virus is seen by many as a once in a lifetime plague and challenge. Hundreds of thousands have died, People have gone without many of life’s necessities’ as Supply Chains have been disrupted. Economies have shut down as citizens shelter in place. Companies have laid off thousands of employees. Difficulties are everywhere! In the years to come, people will look back at the Covid 19 months/years as an extremely difficult time. And how we overcame those difficulties!
What does this have to do with Supply Chain Management and the Oracle Cloud? Simple, there have been great disruptions to our supply chains. Difficulties are everywhere! These disruptions are providing great opportunities to company’s and people everywhere to improve their supply chains!
What is the Holy Grail of Supply Chain Management? It is the ability to stop, pivot, and execute in a new direction with little to no disruption to their supply chains. Now, the experts, the naysayers will point out every reason why a supply chain cannot stop, pivot, and execute with the agility that will be required. If we look at every great accomplishment of the human race we can see those who pushed forward while others pointed out why they wouldn’t succeed. It is time to push forward and ignore those saying we can’t succeed.
So… What are some of issues we need to overcome to create an agile supply chain? Let’s start with three basic goals virtually all supply chains try to accomplish. First, Reduce Inventory within the entire supply chain. Second, Reduce costs from manufacturing to distribution, key elements of the supply chain. Third, Increase the throughput in manufacturing or speed with which product flows in the supply chain.
Let’s look at what Covid 19 has shown us? Inventory can quickly be exhausted or re-routed to other markets by those in charge. Costs will skyrocket when demand isn’t met as raw materials and component availability dries up. Throughput can be slowed or stopped when the supply chain doesn’t provide those same raw materials and components.
What key corporate elements should be evaluated to solve the supply chain difficulties being encountered? How are the corporate elements associated with the challenges we’ve been provided?
Computer systems which have been highly customized and now are extremely inflexible area good starting place. A previous client provides a good example of re-evaluating a software system. They are a major manufacturer of consumer products with a global supply chain. After implementing the Oracle SCM software applications, they saw over 3500 customizations made to those applications. Most of the customizations were unnecessary and eventually discarded, but the shop floor kept asking for changes and IT kept trying to meet their needs. Each time an issue arose the support team made changes or updates. Ultimately it became so unwieldy that the customizations had to be scrapped and a new version of the software implemented. The customizations were inhibiting the agility the company needed to grow. Today, Oracle SCM Cloud would be a great fit with its’ strong analytics and robust functionality.
Another step would be the review of business processes which have been in place for years or decades? Questions might include: Why were they originally put in place? Is the process helping or hurting? Is the process there simply because, “we’ve always done it this way”?
Here’s another real life example. A mid-market company with global reach into over 40 countries was implementing new software. As the software was mapped against the current SCM business processes the same answer to the question, “why do you do this?” kept coming up. “So and so helped us set this up and he knew what we should do”. Interestingly, the resistance to change needed to utilize the full power of the new software was tied to these old processes. Dozens of consultants and new leaders continued to kick against the resistance of old processes embedded deep in the minds of the employees. Oh, and so and so, he had left years before.
Software is engineered and written to meet modern needs and requirements. But it does not contain all of the answers we need to solve the difficult challenges of today and the future. Reviewing and reengineering business processes also needs to be done. That alone is also not enough. The key is that both of these reviews and updates need to be done.
SCM disruption caused by Covid 19 has reached an amazing level and impacted virtually all of us. Going forward we will have a plethora of challenges to overcome. Apps Associates is here to assist.
Please, take a moment and go to ebooks.appsassociates.com and download a great aid to overcoming the challenges the current difficulties have exposed. Many of the difficulties discussed are likely being experienced in your supply chain. The ebook is: Dodging Disruption: Debunking the Top 4 Myths About Oracle SCM. Apps Associates is here to aid you in solving the problems and overcoming the difficulties your company is and will experience over the coming years.
Willard Wayman is a Practice Manager in the Supply Chain Management practice for Apps Associates. He operates as a Solution Architect responsible for application solution design and overall delivery of our SCM projects. He has over 25 years of experience working with the Oracle SCM apps.