Gaining Control by losing it.

For mid-size and large organizations the supply chain and logistics process is engaged on two levels, the high level, international space station level, where grand strategies and processes are designed for the organization. Then there is the lower level over a bumpy city street with lots of potholes where execution is difficult and things do not work as planned.

There are too many variables happening at once for the process to be smooth, plus there are new variables being added all the time. But both the high attitude design and the low level grunt work are needed to have a successful supply chain.

So who does upper management handle this. Historically management has been influenced by the command and control which was a corollary of Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management, whose routes goes back to the 1880’s. In its day, it was a hugh step forward, trying to remove the chaos of a lack of any management process.  But it breaks down in complicated structures as there is just too much to do in a day.

By micromanaging every problem, there is not time to do the necessary short and long term planning, which will make the organization more efficient. Though it has a counter-intuitive aspect, management has more control  by delegating responsibilities to resolve the bumpy road aspects of the job to its lower level people. It would be wise to set standards in how problems are resolved such as safety, accountability, and reporting standards.  There should be an emphasis of solving the problem in a way that it does not continually repeat itself.  By losing micromanaging control, upper management give itself time to look at the big picture.

So what to do what large, profitable customer calls the main manager with a problem. The first choice of action should be to work and train with the manager’s staff to resolve the problem, which is hard choice for a competent manager who might be able to resolve the problem quicker and easier, but at the cost of knowledge not be gained by the staff and lost of respect among the parties. However if the crisis is successfully resolved, there is a real good high that comes when a problem is resolved. Only if nothing is going the way it should the manager take micromanaging control. Even there, time should be afterward to determine why staff could not resolve the problem.




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