A system comprises of a number of subsystems, each consisting of elements, interconnections and purpose. A frustrating aspect of these sub-systems is that their purpose may add up to an overall behaviour that doesn’t support the overall system. In an organization, you have departments that are focused on efficient delivery, yet the overall company performance doesn’t reflect the sum of it’s parts. We keep asking ourselves why this happens and who is to blame.
Looking at the Supply Chain, the people working in each of the departments in the chain are the elements, while policies, procedures, information platforms and communication are the interconnections. The purpose of the Supply Chain is to provide the correct items at the correct time in the correct quantities. So, if we are looking to improve, where do we start? Which of the three components of this Supply Chain will have the greatest impact in improving your business?
Replacing the people (hiring and firing) or sending them on individualized training will change the elements. Secondly, we can change our targets and make them easier (or more challenging) to reach and maintain. Thirdly, we can change the relationships and information flow between the departments. Our challenge is to understand the importance of each of these components and then to work out where to start to optimise overall performance.