By Trevor Long
The recent Manhattan Exchange that took place in Berlin was titled “Agents of Change”. This was a very relevant topic, especially given the ongoing disruptions that are forcing supply chain leaders to rethink how supply chains are designed, how all the different parties communicate, and what is possible.
Supply chain conversations are shifting from the boardroom to the dining room. Delayed shipments for birthday presents causes nail biting family anguish, and lack of spare automotive parts means additional visits to the garage as your annual vehicle inspection date creeps ever closer! As these disruptions impact our daily lives, what can we do differently to manage this? However, they really shine a light on the adage “the only constant is change”.
In the compelling opening keynote speech by Manhattan President and CEO Eddie Capel, the 400 strong audience gave a collective sigh of relief, as we were all given an alibi for perhaps not embracing change or moving quicker than we do. It was explained that it is “nature's fault”... blame the Amygdala! This is a small almond sized region of all of our brains that is designed to protect us and keep us safe — including the potential threats from change.
But we live in a world where instant gratification is becoming the norm and where consumers want their deliveries now. Consumers and customers want things faster, with more convenient delivery options. These include delivery to home, delivery to work, pick up from the store. In addition, customers want more control, including the ability to change the delivery options after placing the order. Plans change, and for a customer it may now be more convenient to pick up their purchase from the store, rather than have it delivered to an office.
In this new world, is it possible to avoid change? It is not… to resist it is like standing on a travelator going backwards. So change we must, even if it does involve a certain level of natural discomfort.
To help us understand the process of change, Eddie introduced an equation called Gleicher's Formula.
Gleicher's Formula states that: D x V x F > R.
D is the dissatisfaction with current conditions
V for vision of what things could be like
F for initial practical (first) steps towards change.
All of these elements multiplied had to overcome R, standing for resistance, for change to take place.
Or, another way to approach the issue of change from a different perspective, and for those that prefer language to equations, consider the word ROPE.
Essentially, what could your business look like, if you found a way to eliminate your primary pains? What would the benefits be? What could you do differently? What new opportunities might open up to you?
From our conversations during the day, two important topics kept re-emerging. Latency of information for label printing in the full end-to-end process (more about this in a follow-up blog), and length of time it takes to onboard a new carrier.
Some people had actually agreed to extend contracts with existing carriers, knowing that they would be paying more, rather than adding new carriers into their network. They also felt “painted into a corner”, as the business lacked the agility and flexibility to respond to market change.
If the onboarding pain were eliminated, many attendees stated that this would open up the possibility of offering new services to the market. This included shifting from a B2B, to a more B2C fulfilment model, winning new customers, and providing more and better services to existing customers. Eliminating this pain could put the company — and their customers — in greater control of when and how deliveries were managed.
Eddie concluded by encouraging us to challenge. To challenge each other — and through doing so seeing what insights come to light. Sometimes a new idea only has to be slightly different to achieve a massive breakthrough. To use these insights to challenge the status quo, and think about what can be done differently. And finally to challenge ourselves, and to act in a way to create a positive change for the future… to become “The Agents of Change”.
Trevor Long has over 20 years’ experience of selling Supply Chain solutions including: Transport Management, Global Trade Compliance, Supply Chain Optimization, Manufacturing Execution, and Mobile applications across Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Retail and 3PL industries. In his spare time, Trevor enjoys playing cricket, walking his Cavalier King Charles spaniel and spending time with his family.
To connect with Trevor please contact us or reach out to him on LinkedIn.