Welp, we’ve heard about them for awhile and here they are. I suppose all these trucks can drive around without humans. Sure, fine, it’s been proven on a micro scale and I’m sure a lot of money will be thrown at it to scale. Here’s my issue: what about all the other things the human does? I don’t know, but, I’m sure that sitting behind the wheel is just a part of what a driver does. Maybe “driver” was always the wrong title and trivializes what they do: get loads from A-to-B in the way the consignor and consignee require.
What’s going to fill those gaps?
PS – why in the world does a driverless truck have a sleeper cab?
“No time to dilly-dally, come along now!” Was that Mary Poppins? Any way, time is ticking right towards massive change in supply chain management. Heard of Industry 4.0? Look it up; it’s a huge change in how we source, make, and deliver stuff. Machines are learning things themselves, robots are being more autonomous, and sensors are attaching to everything to send data our way in droves. What does this mean? Well, we have opportunity to get on the train and be “early” to the destination. This destination is a place of promise and new efficiency + effectiveness. That’s right, we CAN save money and be better at the same time. Let’s make sure we’re open to these new developments and start working on them now…
Just glancing at the screensaver on my phone and the wallpaper was downloaded from medium.com/@garyvee. It reads “Stay in Your Lane” and is a recurring theme from this person. The message is great and simple: know what you’re good at and stick with that. I believe strategy is just as much about what you will not be doing vs. what you will be doing. Make smart choices in your supply chains; know where your “bread is buttered.” We can do better if we focus and “stay in our lanes.”
Oh brother… Being a supply chain pro is a big mystery to everyone. It’s amazing that a supply chain pro can make well into six-figures in base salary and be an unknown. Other high-paying professional jobs: doctor, lawyer, engineer, architect, even “I’m in IT” is understood. “Supply chain” causes gloss-over in just about every person you speak to about work. Let’s fix that. No, really, why does it have to be so unfamiliar? Think about it this way: How often do you deal with a doctor? Few times a year? What about a lawyer? Hopefully, never. Engineer, architect, any of these dealt with on a regular basis? No? Hmm.. what about their work? Do you come across medical reports on your way to the office? Are you finding yourself in courtrooms often? Oh I know, you see blueprints all day, every day. No? So, why are we so familiar with these pros and we never encounter them or their work?
People got sick, so we needed doctors. OK, makes sense. People got into business and we needed lawyers. Got it. It goes on and on; society developed, and as such, it demanded professions to meet specific needs. Well, here we are in the 21st century and people have been needing stuff for a long, long time. All your stuff, it’s everywhere. A supply chain pro made it possible. Ev-er-y-thing. Supply chain needs the spotlight, not in vain, but to attract more people into the field that will make organizations better. Better at providing all your stuff, and better at using resources. Also, better at serving the needs of society. Better yet, better at dealing with catastrophes because guess what: that bottled water and food supply doesn’t make it to the disaster relief zone without a supply chain team to make it happen. There’s a story behind all of your stuff, so let’s find it. Let’s hold it up and talk about how to make it better.
Still looking for a better way in supply chains. It’s no secret that most supply chains are ran in a very tough way. Cost cutting is typically the #1 thing managers go to with their supply chain. Oh, they also “go there” when there have been service disruptions. The narrative that supply chain people receive is #1 do it cheaper and #2 do it better. Man, what’s that adage?
You can have it cheap and fast, but not nice
You can have it nice and fast, but not cheap
You can have it cheap and nice, but not fast
Pick any two, right? Why is this so widely accepted but many leaders never got the memo? Oh, right, supply chain screwed it up. If only they had more people at the distribution center…
This is where I write something about supply chain. Right now it sounds awful and boring and maybe confusing. My mission is to make it meaningful. There’s so much value in a good supply chain. So many of the products you use, everyday, RIGHT NOW, have a wild and crazy supply chain behind them. You would be, scratch that, you WILL BE amazed once you see. Let me show you the supply chains behind everything, everywhere. There are stories, tragic and funny, within your supply chains. That’s right, they are YOUR supply chains. That’s your phone, right? That’s your shirt or blouse you’re wearing (I hope.) The supply chains that brought you those things are YOUR supply chains. Own them. You handed over hard-earned money for that canvas with words at the home decor store. It has a long, interesting supply chain behind it. A story. A story YOU wrote with your money. It wouldn’t exist without your exchange of value. Dollars for words on your wall. You need a canvas with “Believe” or “Love” on your wall. Great. You exchanged money for that and it was executed by the supply chain. You get this from a store or online, and that’s it. Sit it on the floor for 2 weeks while you find the perfect spot, hang it, and enjoy reading it every time you pass by. Hey, I can’t judge. Reading IS fundamental after all. That canvas has so much more to say, although “Love” is a pretty awesome message. This canvas would tell you about the pieces that go into it, where it’s been, who has handled it. The idea “If these walls could talk” has NOTHING on “If these goods could talk.” Let me introduce you to these supply chains. Let’s learn their stories together. Let’s figure out how they can be “better.” What is “better”? Let’s agree together. Let’s go.
Let’s eliminate jargon and stiff, formal communications. If we stand any chance of advancing our supply chains we have to come across in a new way. We need supply chain leaders to be real and up-front. Stop beating around the bushes, looking to same-old topics: forecast, capacity, software…snorrrr! Let’s consider what these supply chains really do. They bring value. They bring life-saving. They bring food, clothes, cars, and yes, our precious gadgets. Can’t we market these activities for what they are, instead of some form of science that needs mastered?