Logistics Problem Solving, the Ultimate Team Sport

Thomas Alva Edison, one of the few people who we remember his or her middle name, once said genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. In logistics we are all about the perspiration part. Isn’t most of business the perspiration part, be in it finance, marketing, sales, accounting or operations?  Yes, it is.   But one very strong factor in  logistics problem solving is the importance of making others successful. You make the customer successful by having product to sell. You make the boss look good by organizing your supply chain to add value to the supply chain your customer will pay for.  Even at times, a logician must ask one part of the organization to  be less successful so that the organization good is done. You made increase somebody’s freight transportation budget to cut down inventory because the savings are greater cutting inventory.  Or you may ask that warehousing costs go up so transportation costs can go down more.

To accomplish changes like described in the last few sentences, it takes quite bit of work. Because if you increase somebody’s budget even though you are getting total cost lower and probably providing a higher quality service, top management must be won over. You are asking management to spend to determine this and reflect in its performance metrics. Many times salary incentives have to be rethought. A good argument will not win this case. One has to sell the change to the organization and be persistent.  It will not happen easily.

To win the respect a major change requires, you have win the respect before it happens. One must resolved many smaller issues for people in your organization. One most be responsive on issues which may not be top priority but meets the needs of the organization and earns your respect. This probably may not be a direct benefit to you and your branch of the firm but it wins you  the credibility to lead.  People in logistics who think first about their success only, will not be successful in logistics. Its a team sport even if the team is not formally there.



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