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Opinion

Actions speak louder …

By Hugh Williams , 02-Jul-2010
Last updated on 02-Jul-2010 at 23:05 GMT

Grains of rice have been produced weighing as much as 78mg each. This is way above the typical weight of 23mg per grain.

I'll have to stop before I bore you, but I thought you might like to know, given your benchmarking obsession.

Supply chain professionals constantly ask me how their stock-turn compares to the industry, craving data to measure forecast accuracy against. Unfortunately, of the mountains of data on industry performance, little is meaningful.

I have seen supply chain directors go spare because global affiliates interpret some of their measures differently.

Even a measure as simple as OTIF (on-time, in-full) has more strings attached than a Thunderbirds movie. Comparing the results is like scoring each athlete's performance differently in the Olympics. Good luck deciding who wins gold.

And are you saying that if your stock-turn is lower than the industry average, you'll spring into action, but if it's higher, you'll do nothing and look smug? Then you have missed the point.

If actions based on monitoring performance are effective, your performance will increase, whatever the original score. Stock reduction should be the key indicator, not stock levels. This might be pedantic, but the behaviour change is big, focusing on continuous improvement. So stop weighing each rice grain and check instead that you haven't overcooked it!

Hugh Williams is founder of supply chain planning specialist consultancy Hughenden. 


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