Priorities matter: How to lead supply chain growth

When you think about what it takes to run a successful business, often it all boils down to priorities. No one has unlimited resources or infinite amounts of time, and the right prioritization can make or break you.

The importance of your choice in priorities increases exponentially during times of constraint or transition. While some in the transportation industry are no longer feeling the extreme pressure of last year’s capacity crunch, the volatility of the market looms constant and reminds us of the importance of selecting projects that will deliver the most value to our businesses.

At OTM SIG, Oracle’s user conference in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, there was a lot to consider regarding priorities, and the keynote speaker, Steve McClatchy, focused his presentation on just that. He directed the crowd to choose the path that leads to growth and evolution over that of daily firefighting. McClatchy, author of the bestselling “Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example,” explained that regularly prioritizing want-to-dos over need-to-dos is the key to preventing burnout and paving the way for success.

McClatchy categorizes these as Prevent Pain tasks vs. Gain tasks. He argued that if you focus all your energy on completing the Prevent Pain tasks, you’ll be stuck in the role of manager. Leaders, on the other hand, prioritize Gain tasks. The difference between leaders and managers, he points out, is that managers the status quo, while leaders fight for growth.

It was fascinating to look at the event through this lens. Everywhere, there were examples of leaders who preemptively took McClatchy’s advice and, in an increasingly heated environment, prioritized Gain tasks for their supply chains. Despite an inevitably long list of must-dos that accumulates in the background of every improvement project, here are five values that OTM SIG presenters prioritized this year:

1) Future-Readiness
Erika Johnson & Carrie Kaup of Land O’ Lakes presented the story of the organization’s transition from an on-premise version of OTM to the cloud-based system. The project goal reflected the company’s commitment to innovation now and in the future, but the project management style also reflected its dedication to building sustainable, high-functioning teams. To learn more about how Land O’ Lakes drives innovation in their supply chain, check out this webinar with their CSCO, Yone Dewberry, and Adrian Gonzalez of Talking Logistics.

2) Customer Experience
Preston Bruessow, Logistics Manager for The Dow Chemical Company, joined FourKites CPO Priya Rajagopalan to share how Dow is using FourKites to improve the customer experience. Preston said, “Dow is investing heavily in the CX space, and that’s one of the reasons we chose to partner with FourKites. You hear a lot about the value of visibility for improving on-time delivery and reducing detention — all valid. But what we’re really focused on is using that data to drive and improve customer experience.”

3) Efficiency
John Reynolds, IT Director at The Coca-Cola Company, spoke about prioritizing efficiency for their transportation procurement team by utilizing a digital freight brokerage – Loadsmart – as an integrated piece of their Oracle Cloud platform. They now use an automated system that works with their TMS to tender the lowest cost freight automatically.

4) Strategic Planning
Oracle announced the launch of a new product as part of its 19B update to OTM. Logistics Network Modelling allows users to analyze detailed what-if scenarios in order to optimize their planning for lowest cost. Another feature, multi-stop dynamic clustering, allows users to enable constraints that influence routing like mode, additional stop locations or direct ship. Users that of OTM multi-stop dynamic clustering can choose what constraints to prioritize and the system creates the best possible routing option.

5) Data
In the Diamond Sponsor session, Craig Fiander, SVP of Global Business Development at FourKites, highlighted that what differentiates our platform from other supply chain visibility providers is the vastness of our network and the data derived from that network. Having an abundance of reliable, real-time data is more critical than ever as ML/AI-driven solutions become the new normal, and being able to derive actionable insights from said data is key to maintaining a leg up for all supply chain stakeholders today.

. . . . . .

If you use a TMS for your transportation planning – be it Oracle or any other system – you understand the importance of priorities. Deciding which carrier to go with, which route or mode to choose, all have positives and negatives to consider, and your decision will undoubtedly impact your bottom line. As evidenced by the presentations at OTM SIG, the systems you integrate with your TMS and how you choose to apply those tools are also of critical importance. To learn more about how supply chain visibility can work in tandem with a TMS system to take your supply chain optimization beyond the status quo, check out this blog post or sign up for our webinar on September 10: Building an intelligent supply chain with TMS and real-time visibility. The time has never been better to exert your leadership and fight for growth.

Suggested Reading

Menu