Recently, a very good client said something to me that made me stop and think. She said that now that the economy is recovering strongly she feels that she is a worse manager than she was during the recession. Now I have been working with her for a number of years on several different projects and I know that she is now and was before a very fine manager indeed, but I do get what she was trying to say.

She was very perceptively putting her finger on the fact that in an expanding economy the challenges facing managers test them in very different ways than those they face during hard times. When the economy is on the up, big decisions need to me made. Often, these are strategic choices that will shape the direction of the business for many years to come, such as, which lines of business to develop and which to discard, whether to expand capacity and by how much, what new channels and markets to open uo what skills to develop and hire.

In effect, the days of cost cutting and box ticking are over, and now is the time to stand up and be counted. Conservatism, constraint and the avoidance of mistakes might be the way to get through tough times but these attributes won’t cut it in this new environment. The challenge is that after many years of managing in an atmosphere of battening down the hatches, it is not so easy for many managers to change tack and and plot a different course.

As the pendulum has now swung most definitely from contraction to expansion, there has been a distinct shift from the tactical to the strategic in the thinking of many businesses. This is the challenge of designing the future. What is required now is the creativity, the ability, and the courage to take calculated risk to design winning strategies and to turn those strategies into implementable operational plans. This is happening in a world, emerging from a long crisis where the supply chain is being radically transformed by deep changes in society, technology amd geopolitics that affect every single business, big and small, in every sector and in every country in the world.

What are you doing to take advantage of this? What is your strategy for 2018 and beyond? How are you going to implement this strategy? I would love to hear your stories and I would be delighted to discuss how I can help you to achieve your goals in 2018.


© Patrick Daly 2017

21st Century Warehousing: Strategy and Operation

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