About 10 months ago, I was tasked with managing our supply chain and logistics departments. With plenty of paperwork and not enough procedure, our operations were inefficient, gaining access to data was challenging and stakeholders often felt uninformed about what was happening. Fast forward to present day and the operational landscape is vastly different. Processes have transformed how the business communicates with itself and we have dynamic data, allowing us to tightly control our budgets and make informed decisions – with agility.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure
To measure success, it needs to be defined and tracked. The power of creating and implementing more efficient ways of performing essential business operations is testament to this. With the introduction of simple processes and web-based systems to manage our entire logistics and supply chain life-cycle, moving from idea to impact has never been better. From inbound shipments to outbound shipments to collections, to budget tracking – our entire client delivery lifecycle is now measured step-by-step. These processes form the basis from which all executive decisions are made.
Reaping the rewards
The rewards gained from innovating our operations has been dramatic.
- From a strategic perspective, we have higher customer satisfaction due to increased reliability and delivery of products.
- From a marketplace perspective, our innovations directly benefit the customer. Now, we deliver increased value, visibility and adaptability much earlier in our supply chain life cycle, significantly reducing associated risk and strengthening our customer relationships.
- From an operational perspective, we are making better use of assets, which reduces our direct costs. We no longer buy parts in bulk and are in transition towards a 12-week forecast, transforming our procurement ethos to “Just-in-time” - a far more agile strategy. The ability to buy parts just in time means very little overhead, greater waste reduction and better cash management. This has decreased shipping costs and its implications, creating a highly efficient business that can quickly adapt to change.
- From a people perspective, the logistics department is leaner and runs without micromanagement. The accessibility these web-forms create, allow our staff to do process-driven tasks daily, with reliable and transparent results. This has improved team morale, accountability and positive feedback from internal stakeholders.
Success begets success
From a loosely defined system that used to be prone to mistakes, we now have a web-form that takes less than a few minutes to fill out. By taking one step at a time, one process at a time, we have built efficiencies and found clarity along the way. Process creates velocity and velocity has generated motivation in our team to continue to optimize. Now, they are more excited than ever knowing their time has been freed up to finesse existing systems and explore their own creative pursuits. The truth is, logistics doesn’t have to be complicated if you’re set up for success. Great processes and simple tools can go a long way for an organization. Antenna is testament to this.
What are you doing to improve your workforce efficiencies across your business operations?
Operational innovation is rare. By my estimate, no more than 10% of large enterprises have made a serious and successful effort at it. And that shouldn’t be. Executives who understand how operational innovation happens—and who also understand the cultural and organizational barriers that prevent it from happening more often—can add to their strategic arsenal one of the most powerful competitive weapons in existence.