The Why, How, and What of Supply Chain Optimization – Part 2

Last time, in the first installment of a three-part series about the “why”, “how”, and “what” of supply chain optimization, we introduced some of the principles contained in the book Start With Why, by Simon Sinek, and began to explore how these relate the supply chain/warehousing environment.

Today we are asking this question: Is the “why” really that important when it comes to implementing efficient supply chain optimization processes?

The Why How and What of-Supply Chain Optimization - 2 - Waller & Associates Supply Chain Blog

We believe it is. Supply chain optimization and management is a very diverse field that serves a wide variety of industries, government agencies, and other organizations, each with its own set of often complex requirements.

Take our own business model as an example. The services we provide are grouped into three broad categories. 

  • Design of distribution centers/warehouses.
  • Operational review and process improvement.
  • Evaluation, implementation and project management of up to date, appropriate technology.

In each of these areas, and in each individual client project case, there may be several possible solutions, each with its own merits and potential pitfalls.

Evaluating each decision in terms of how it contributes to the fulfilment of our client’s reason for existing, gives us a reference point for making decisions, especially when there are two or more solutions that are closely matched, or even roughly equal in terms of cost and efficacy.

In that case, the question is not so much, “Which is the best solution?”, but rather, “Which solution best lines up with the client’s core values and motivation?”

This shifts the focus from finding the most theoretically perfect solution to developing the solution that most closely aligns with the client’s core “why”.

In the next, and last, part of this series, we will explore the “what”, i.e. outcomes and results, and whether they are more influenced by the “why”, the “how”, or a combination of both.