Ask anyone in the field and they will tell you successful supply chain and operations management professionals are skilled planners who know what needs to be done to accomplish their objectives. Tactics are important, they get the job done.
Companies, however, increasingly are emphasizing supply chain design to meet their goals. I can think of many examples across a variety of industries where supply chain is a strategic competitive differentiator: Unilever and P&G in the consumer packaged goods world, Apple and Samsung in consumer electronics, TESCO in retail, the list goes on.
Can supply chain professionals meet the needs of two masters? Can they excel both at strategy and at tactics? Can anyone?
Over the last couple of years, APICS has been striving to build strategic acumen as well as tactical expertise of the professionals we serve. While we were planning the content for the upcoming APICS Asia Supply Chain & Operations Conference in Mumbai April 4–5, I challenged myself to develop an education session to help supply chain professionals practice strategy development.
During the course of my career and in multiple settings, I have heard people say that individuals are either tactical or strategic in nature. I cannot quibble with this; it may be true. But I do know that, while we may each have a preference for one or the other, we can learn how to engage in both. Over the next several weeks, I will be gathering techniques and tools that help professionals engage in strategic thinking, the first step to developing strategy.
As I study how individuals can develop their strategic-thinking ability, I’ll share in this blog what I’m learning. In turn, I invite you to share as well. How do you ensure you are taking a strategic perspective in your work? Are there tools you use to aid this process? Have you read books or attended programs that have been particularly helpful? Let me know. I am excited to learn what works (and what does not) in the real world.