Simplifying Complexity in the Supply Chain
By Stephen Slade on Jul 30, 2012
Possibly you have seen this phrase a few times in the literature. It surfaced on a number of occassions recently in articles on various manufacturing IT topics. Also, with the interesting recent appointment of Marissa Mayer as Yahoo’s CEO, one of her most admirable characteristics is the unique ability to 'simplify-complexity'. Some may think that this concept as oxymoronic, but it’s not. But how does one take a complex process and simplify it?
With today’s global supply chains, with swimlanes, flow diagrams, convoluted networks - the capability to accommodate any input algorithm or exception (think tax-forms or FAFSA) it’s easy to design and introduce a complex form, screen or page with 20 clicks to open-complete and 5 screens to enter an order. Marissa Mayer – as employee #20 in Google – designed the one line simple Google entry form. The beauty is in the simplicity, with the artwork updating daily. Think how easy it is to just type in a word, phrase or subject and the application takes over. We need to do the same for our supply chains. ‘Googlize’ it.
The point is that our supply chains today are very complex – users still meander a number of forms, processes and data re-entry. A recent survey of supply chain executives by Managing Automation, in a value chain white paper to be released shortly, indicates that 18% of supply chains are not integrated with another 24% siloed with APIs to transfer date. Fewer than 9% are fully integrated. This provides plenty of room for improvement. There are better solutions out there and it’s up to us, the supply chain change managers of the world, to find novel, simple solutions to the complex supply chain scenario. Let me know how you do after meeting with your IT Development team.