Supply chain transformation must be embraced as a state of mind rather than just a one-off project, according to Simon Finch, distribution director at Harrods. Speaking at the eDelivery Expo Final Mile conference earlier this month Finch said: “Actually a supply chain transformation isn’t a programme – it doesn’t have to have a start and a finish because the pace of change is incredibly fast. We are starting to embrace it as a state of mind and a way of thinking,” he said.
The retailer is currently 18 months into a project that will ensure the company’s supply chain can deliver both on current and future needs of its customers and as part of his session Finch delivered 6 key lessons he had learnt from his work so far:
1 Get help
Finch warned retailers not to over-estimate the complexity of such transformations. “We say it’s not rocket science but actually some of this is rocket science,” he said.
2 Be realistic
Timescales and goals should also be attainable Finch said.
3 Look at the capability you have
Retailers must ensure they have adequate resource to tackle such projects.
4 Collaboration where you can
“Look at how you can work together,” explained Finch.
5 Don’t forget business as usual
This point was one that can be easy to overlook, according to Finch. “The world moves while you are looking for a transformation. You can’t stop that and must build that into the plans. People aren’t going to leave you alone even though you are doing a project,” he said.
6 Tell the story
Finally Finch said it was important to explain the story of what is being done with all concerned – from staff to vendors, customers and partners. “Share with them what you are doing,” he said.
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