No One Wants to Hear Their Baby (Operation) is Ugly!

baby with potential

The hardest thing we experience when it comes time to do a walk thru of a client’s operation whether they are an existing client or a potential new client is to bring up things they are doing that are not best practices. Everyone, whether they admit they have issues or not, is proud of their company and the operation they have built, so telling them there may be a better way to do something often requires us to use sufficient tact. The feedback we sometimes receive is:

• This is the way we have always done it.
• We tried doing it that way years ago.
• This is what we do. This is our business.
• I have been in supply chain/operations for X years.

Let’s take a look at each one individually.

“This is the way we have always done it” does not allow for changes in technology, design, personnel or systems. The supply chain industry is changing very rapidly and if a company is not staying up with current changes, they will be left behind. Behind competitors, whether they are domestic or international, reducing margins and long term competitiveness.

“We tried doing it that way years ago” has the same issues. A lack of recognition that the industry is changing will only hurt your business. There may be some very valid reasons why something was tried years ago and did not work, but that does not mean with new technology it won’t work this time. The market and your competitors are changing and doing something so don’t be afraid to explore again.

“This is what we do. This is our business” usually applies to companies that think distribution is their main business. A lot of companies are actually sales or technology organizations and distribution is only part of what they do. Because distribution is not their core competency, the first step to improving their business is realizing there is help out there and to make the call. It never hurts to listen. The ever increasing 3PL market is proof that companies are outsourcing this part of their business to others that know distribution better. Not everyone needs to go that route, but wise decisions need to be made to stay viable.

“I have been in supply chain/operations for X years” is a common mistake individual’s within a company make. Dealing with the day to day business requirements and being employed at the same company for a long time can actually hinder personal and company growth. Industrial Storage is involved in many trade organizations and does hundreds of customer site visits a year. It takes a lot of time and effort to stay on top of an ever changing industry, our industry. If it’s challenging for industry specific companies to stay up to date on the fluid market changes, how easy and how much extra time will it take for someone doing day to day operations to stay current? We are here to help, but please don’t be offended if we tell you a part of your business (your baby) is ugly. We can help remove the ugly in your operation.

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