Over the past couple of months, I have spoken at 13 locations to over 750 supply chain professionals. Tonight, I end the book tour in Raleigh with an event in the Research Triangle in North Carolina. It combines the educational, technology and user groups in this area.
It is always great to hear from readers. As I talk in the sessions, I ask the question, “What did you value in the book?” The answers follow common patterns:
- The most common answer is the sharing of the thirty-five case studies from the pioneers over the past three decades. Common comments are, “The book is full of great stories.” Or, “I loved the quotes from the pioneers.” The readers love the stories.
- The second most common response is on Chapter 6 and the insights shared on the Race for Supply Chain 2020. Teams are looking for a definition of the future supply chain. They recognize the gap between the current state of supply chain technologies and the changing business requirements. In strategy sessions, companies find the mapping of outside processes using new forms of data, and working with the concepts of emerging technologies, to be liberating.
- The third is a reflection of accomplishments against the original goals of supply chain excellence. Over the course of the tour, I have had great discussions on the definition of the term “supply chain” as a department (often focused on logistics) versus the original intent as driving improvements from the customers’ customer to the supplier’s supplier. Most supply chain professionals find the discussions engaging. They take a deep breath when they learn that industry stagnation against the goals is a common problem. Most do not realize that all industries (except high-tech) are stalled in making progress in powering improvements in profitability, inventory cycles, and managing complexity. Many are surprised to find the only thing that we have improved in the supply chain is employee productivity(revenue/employee). They are surprised that we have not improved inventory levels, inventory turns, or Return on Assets (ROA). They take solace in the fact that it is a common problem and that they are not alone.
- The discussions on talent are transformational for most audiences. I love seeing companies share stories of how their worlds have changed in the management of supply chain talent. It is great to see the book used as a dialogue starter.
- And, last but not least, it is great to see the book used as a way to transform the supply chain discussion from a functional dialogue to a business discussion. I am passionate that supply chain matters to the balance sheet. I believe supply chain saves the world. The groups around the world have loved the discussions on supply chain strategy and balance sheet performance.
The tour is over, but I hope that the discussions are not. It has been a great experience. I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity to share this with you. As always, we look forward to your feedback.