How I learned about the shades of grey in life, a summary

Supply Chain need to be able to understand the sales capabilities in their company and not just shrug off the sales input as a nuisance. In the end, if sales can’t do it or won’t do it, it won’t get done. The earlier in the chain you can take the cost, the lower the cost is, no matter what budget it affects.

No matter how much you want to protect your investments in the supply chain, you cannot jeopardize your sales.

Sales people are always going to exaggerate the numbers, it’s in their nature. So ask them about the commercial value. What is their plan? Ask how this compares to the information, the numbers, you have available:

  • how is this new product different from product X, Y and Z
  • what commercial actions are you going to take and how are they different to how you are working with product X
  • when will you take these actions
  • is there a synergy effect  within the new offer
  • is there a synergy effect  between the new offer and current articles
  • is there any cannibalism on related articles
  • are there any customer values in the design or material that we do not have in our current range

If they cannot answer your questions, base your forecast on the statistics of similar items, because sales is most likely going to manage the item as they manage the current items.

When a goal is over achieved, don’t grieve what you couldhavewouldhaveshouldhave done to sell even more, that’s just greedy. If your goals are right for your business then you should hit the goals not exceed them, that’s when you get good forecast quality, that’s when you get good profitability.

Change happens all the time and on different scales. Be aware of what you are changing and prepare yourself and the organization you are about to change. To get the demand process right you are going to have to initiate change.

Change is driven by communication and motivation not good ideas alone. In order to achieve change you need to take the following into consideration:

  • Don’t change everything at once, no matter how tempting this is, that will only prolong the process and is a great recipe for failure
  • All managers need to be ahead in the change cycle, in acceptance, so they can support their people where they are (if both managers and co-workers are in the Immobilization phase, you’re in trouble)
  • Give people time to reflect on the idea of change (the pure fact that there will be change) before you start implementing it
  • Respect individuals, everyone handles change differently and will regress or act out differently (I have been yelled at a few times)
  • Never overstep managers, they have the responsibility to do the job and know their teams (connects to the previous point)
  • Involve people in the process, you need some early adopters that can speak within the ranks about the benefits of the change
  • Set goals that can be measured in order to provide feedback on the progres
  • Ask for help, if the change is not going the way you expected, turn to your colleagues to find a way to move things along
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Tell people are we, where have we been and where are we going
  • Allow people to speak out and address their input, or you have to take care of rumors or bad seeds sown in your change project
  • Land one change before you throw in the next one

Take care out there!

Håkan

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