Supply Chain’s Best Best Practice

New Research Identifies An Age-Old Competitive Advantage

21 November, 2019 //The Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam School of Business has just published an important white paper that explores the secrets to supply chain success. In all, the authors described more than 250 documented best practices of high performance organizations (HPOs). 

The research studied leading supply chains from 1980 to 2015, looking at the trends that have driven success: consumer personalization, the digital revolution, the customer market revolution. Then, they projected 10 practices that will carry high performance leaders through 2025. 

So, you wanna know what the cheat codes are for future supply chain excellence? The Internet of Things (Iot)? Blockchain? Cross-carrier visibility platforms? Changes to outsource manufacturing strategies?

Nope. It’s people. Sorry if that disappoints your Jetsons mindset, but the more processes and information become complex, the more important it is to have smart, well-trained and fully engaged workers—an agile workforce built for quality and speed.

That’s not to say the other stuff isn’t important. The research team, led by Prof. Ted Stank, identifies a “zero-loss mindset,” “lean innovation,” and “business value creation” among their top 10 HPO practices. But even these are essentially people-driven competencies at their core.

At Morgan, we spend our full share of time thinking about the technologies and service innovations that can drive supply chain transformation. But the UT Knoxville researchers’ observations ring true to us. Because it’s the expertise and operational experience of our team that inform those solutions—and tie them back to powerful strategies for our clients.

So go figure: The killer app for 21st Century supply chain turns out to be humans. That’s a particularly important observation, given that Baby Boomer retirements mean “the US labor market will lose up to 60 million workers” according to the report. “This shift will… reverberate throughout the labor market, increasing competition for high-potential and high-performing employees.” 

If your supply chain organization is looking for ways to create competitive advantage, “High Performance Organization Best Practices: People Are the Heart of the Supply Chain” is worth a read and careful consideration.

 


 

While You Were Shipping…

More Recent Stories You May Have Missed That Caught Our Eye

Time for Gasses In the Gas Tank? (Commercial Carrier Journal) Electric propulsion continues to grow for cars, but a lack of range has slowed its applications for the commercial transportation industry. At the recent North American Commercial Vehicle show, truck manufacturers were making the case for hydrogen fuel cells instead. Proof-of-concepts at the show in Atlanta included offerings from Hyundai, Cummins, Freightliner, Kenworth and Nikola Motors. If manufacturers can create enough demand to justify building out the refueling infrastructure, the idea of a 600-mile truck that emits only water could be compelling.

The Gig Is Up for Truckers. Or Maybe Not. (Supply & Demand Chain Executive) The California Trucking Association (CTA) has filed a lawsuit to block new labor laws passed recently by the state’s legislator. The new rules would require companies to treat drivers as employees for wages and benefits. To be considered a contractor, a vendor would have to meet tough criteria spelled out by the California Supreme Court. CTA argues those requirements infringe on the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate interstate commerce. However it’s resolved, there are many miles before this dispute is settled. 

Meanwhile, the U.S.’s top owner-operator network, Landstar System, is hedging its bets. Commercial Carrier Journal reports that Landstar sent a memo to its 10,000-plus truckers saying it intends to “discuss some options relating to the potential impact” of California’s legislation. No details yet on what those options are, but Landstar says its measures should ensure uninterrupted service nationwide.