“The most damaging phrase in the language is: 'It's always been done that way.' Humans are allergic to change. A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for. The only phrase I've ever disliked is, 'Why, we've always done it that way.'” Grace Hopper
I remember Sister Sarah Prudence exacting her ruler across my knuckles at least once a week. “STOP DREAMING” She admonished, with an ever so slight smirk of satisfaction on her face. Some years have gone by and now I am relied on to dream of ideas with actionable plans and measureable results. I still occasionally look at my knuckles…ol’ bat, what did she know?
I’ve been reading about the new generation leading the technology and midsize business mindset, a psyche that seems to embrace the phrase disruptive this and innovative that. Well folks, in order for you to be disruptive I sorta think you need to act, advance, move, progress…
The only difference between a rut and a grave? The duration you are digging. We live in a dynamic environment, change is the only constant. If a choice to better your professional position by challenging the status quo came to you, searched you out, and all internal fact finding and research verified your assumption that a change would better the company, its customers, and yourself…..well?
BE AGILE, DRIVE THE FUTURE
A salesperson isn’t afraid of the phone, maybe not afraid of the person on the other end. It’s the rejection. The wrong result. Poor planning I say. We are all human (even you Sr. Sarah) and have expectations and fears that stymie progress, because your direct fear is assimilated to your processes in your chosen career. When presented with clear, documented facts of a supplier possessing greater value, more relevant solutions, a team of professionals dedicated to YOUR success, I say run with it and start a transition plan or at least an inclusion plan that helps your customers and your bottom line. Oh, and what if the new supplier actually helped in your transition? Hopefully this will find its way to leadership because, in my eyes, this is a Top-Down exercise with buy-in from all levels.
DISRUPTION IS NOT DESTRUCTION
The onboarding process of a new supplier should be painless. Some say seamless is a better term, and probably is, but not the truth. I have never seen any Gantt chart survive reality…ever. Transparency on BOTH sides is required for smooth inclusion to your ERP and SCM platforms.
This is an incremental change remember, not an overhaul so breathe. Everything will be fine. You’ve checked your Emergency Situation Plan and agree that a minimum Champion-Challenger supplier strategy will keep your customers fulfilled, your salespeople confident in delivery, and keep both suppliers honest. If given options your customers will make the ultimate decision for you, and if designed correctly greater margin.
YA GOTTA LOVE COMPETITION!
Create your control documents to avoid blindsides. Check your vulnerabilities with a periodic audit to avoid new supplier angst. Demanding scheduled contact for updates in solution portfolio and pricing is perfectly acceptable and expected. Create a single point-of-contact for clean communication channels. Most likely these could be the lead supply chain purchaser for the client and the operations/executive level person from the supplier. I have seen an official “Change Agent” when the client is truly in transition due to acquisition(s) and technology changes. These “Change Agents” sole purpose is drive the organization towards a focused goal corporately shared, mapped, and managed yet rarely own execution. That’s up to you and me. Corporate Culture core values should drive performance to drive execution to welcome change. Like I said before; Top-Down.
PLAN B CANNOT BE THE EXIT STRATEGY
Whatever generational vernacular best suits your medulla oblongata; Root cause analysis, or reverse process engineering, you can either continue to treat the symptoms of single source supply chain problems or be a part of the cure. Where is your disruptive mentality meter standing now? Translate that idea, that strategy into action.
TRANSLATE YOUR MISSION INTO COMPANY CULTURE
Instill a need to change, grow and improve with the market or someone else will. Don’t let your prospect or client become irrelevant on your watch. MAKE IT PERSONAL, contrary to the “participation trophy” subscribers.