The Why, How, and What of Supply Chain Optimization – Part 1

Today, we are starting a 3-part series of posts in which we will explore three core elements of supply chain optimization, namely the why, the how, and the what.

We were inspired to think deeply about this topic by the principles and examples contained in the book Start With Why, by Simon Sinek – a British-American author, motivational speaker, and organizational consultant.

The Why How and What of-Supply Chain Optimization - 1 - Waller & Associates Supply Chain Blog

In this book, Sinek stresses the importance of understanding whether a business operates based on manipulation or inspiration (with inspiration being the more powerful of the two forces), and of knowing and staying true to the “why” of your business, i.e. its reason for existence, motivation, values etc.

Sinek maintains that a sense of purpose, a compelling “why”, inspires people, and this should form the basis of the way companies, brands, etc. communicate, with “how” and “what” being secondary. He also makes the point that this order of priority ties in with human biology, specifically the limbic system in our brains.

The Connection to SCO

So, what does all of this have to do with supply chain optimization? It comes down to the core of why we as supply chain professionals do what we do.

Think about it – why do we constantly look for ways to make the entire supply chain more efficient? Is it to make receiving, storage, picking, dispatching, and delivery processes faster and more accurate? Is it the adoption of advanced techniques and technology to drive overall running costs down for our clients? Or are these activities more related to the “how” and “what” of what we do? Surely the “why” has more to do with helping our clients run their businesses in a more efficient and cost-effective way – giving their own customers better service and helping to build loyalty.

Join us next time as we dig a bit into the “how” of supply chain optimization, especially the way in which this relates to, and is influenced by, the “why”.