Eyes On The Balls
The visiting parish priest was probing the moral character of the lad during dinner, and raised the issue of the Golden Rule. The head of the house tried a cue, "Come on, son, what is the Golden Rule?" The perplexed target of this unwanted attention responded, "Keep your eye on the ball?"
He turned out to be out first son-in-law, and we are pleased to report that he has been replaced, and sent down to the minor leagues.
We've lots - some think too many - balls in the air in trying to be compleat supply chain managers, and it's hard to know which ones to keep an eye on. I am very confident that cutting inventories as a supply chain focus is not the ball to be watching. The real challenge and responsibility is to find the right balance of inventories at a reasonable cost.
Further, cutting overall costs as a supply chain imperative is another wrong ball. As the late Don Bowersox reminded us, cost management in supply chains is not a differentiator, but table stakes - what it takes to be in the game. The real mandate is to elevate enterprise performance with value propositions (a very different beast than cost-cutting) to capture and hold profitable customers - and leverage the organization's assets and resources.
Those might not be what the CFO, under pressure, wants to hear, but they are truths for the long haul - the place to be in preparing for the stretch drive.
While you consider which are the right balls, do keep your eyes open. It is the wrong balls that roar in like 97 mph fastballs and catch you square on the kisser.