What is really going on out there in the world of supply chain right now? Unless you have a plausible answer to that question as regards the competitive environment that your business operates in and what are the key points of advantage and leverage that your business possesses, you cannot possibly have a cogent strategy for your business.

The answer to this question for your business at any moment in time will always be, at best, a hypothesis about what the true reality is. It will be your best attempt at a coherent narrative about how the business competes in its chosen markets. This narrative should be what informs the sets of actions that you take to implement your strategy.

The challenge that many are facing in recent times however is that what is really going on out there is ever changing and it has become far more difficult to discern than in times past.

The pace of change appears to be accelerating and with each month that passes, we seem to enter further into uncharted territory in this post-COVID world, with a major war in Europe, persistent supply chain disruptions and unusually high rates of inflation.

This means that we must be more alert and more aware about all the relevant developments out there so that we can update our narrative continually and adjust our strategic actions accordingly.

In today’s world this work of strategy formulation, implementation and reformulation needs to be permanent and organic, not episodic and artificial, as it often has been in the past and somebody needs to have explicit responsibility and accountability for ensuring that this be so.

This is a challenge in itself given the current talent and skills shortages being experienced by many businesses where it often seems that it is all hands on deck just to keep the ship afloat from one day to the next. Be that as it may, it does not absolve us from the reality of the situation we face.

In my consultancy work around the world in manufacturing, distribution, and logistics services, I often get questions along the lines of:

  • Should we automate our distribution centre and if we do which solution is best for us?
  • Should we build a new warehouse ourselves and how much capacity do we need, or should we outsource our warehousing requirements?
  • Should we continue with spot rates for ocean freight container transport or enter longer-term arrangements with our freight forwarders?
  • What organizational and communication structure is right for our distribution centre to provide the speed and accuracy on order fulfilment that our customers expect?
  • What talent and skills are we going to need for the strategic challenges that we face?

These are not just tactical and technical questions. The all have strategic implications and can only really be answered effectively for the set of circumstances peculiar to each questioner – his or her own individual narrative or hypothesis about what is going on in their world.

Working with clients on these types of challenges, I help them see the context in which they are asking the question, understand how the forces that are changing the world impinge on the question, and enable them answer in the way that is right for them and take action with alacrity to select and implement the best solution.

If you would like to discuss how I may be able to help you and your business do likewise you can contact me directly on +353 86 811 6030 or pdaly@albalogistics.com, wherever you are in the world, to start the conversation.

You may also like to listen to my Interlinks podcast here Patrick Daly Interlinks Podcast (albalogistics.com) or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other main podcast platforms where there are over 90 recorded episodes on diverse topics with business practitioners from all around the world.

21st Century Warehousing: Strategy and Operation

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