The Why, How, and What of Supply Chain Optimization – Part 3

In the previous two posts on this topic we looked at the basic principle of inspiration being a more powerful force than manipulation, and of understanding and prioritizing the “why” of your business, as contained in the book Start With Why, by Simon Sinek.

This time around, we are going to explore whether outcomes and results (the “what”) are more influenced by the “why” (motivation and values) or the “how” (operational process) of the business.

The Why How and What of-Supply Chain Optimization - 3 - Waller & Associates Supply Chain Blog

One, Both, or Neither?

We don’t believe it has to be one or the other, but rather both are important and form part of a logical flow, with the order of priority being all-important. If you do just for the sake of doing, without clearly understanding why, you run the risk of putting a lot of effort into going in the wrong direction, or even worse, of actually going around in circles. We are not disputing that a lot of effort will be put in, but effort without a clear strategy often leads to you being busy instead of productive.

In our opinion, based on the principles espoused by Sinek, the proper progression should be:

  1. A full understanding of why your organization or business unit exists, and how supply chain optimization matters to this “why”.
  2. Implementation and operation of business processes, technology, equipment etc. that reflects the motivation and values of the business – i.e. a “how” that falls in line with the “why”, and leads naturally to . . .
  3. Outcomes and results (the “what”) that are inspired by the “why” of the organization and made possible by the diligent application of a “how” process that stems from it.

This is the end of our series of posts on the “why”, “how”, and “what” of supply chain optimization. We hope they have made you think a bit about why your organization exists and does what it does.

Let us know if you have any thoughts to add, or any examples of ways in which these principles relate to your business, what your “why” is, etc.