February 2, 2023

Why Knowing about Supply Chain Management isn’t Enough to Make Better Supply Chain Operations On Its Own

Mastering all the theories and ideas of supply chain management is not enough to run or even improve supply chain operations at work.

Why is that?

I’ll tell you about someone who really knows everything there is to know about supply chain management in theory and in practice. He knows a lot about a lot of things. He can give you a full answer to any question you have.

With this information, he is able to look at the way the supply chain works at his current job. From there, he can come up with different plans to improve how well the supply chain works.

He is good at making all kinds of models and calculations for supply chains. He knows all the formulas for supply chain operations very well.

Top management hopes that he can change and improve the way the company runs its supply chain. He was hired to do that. To be able to make the business of the company better.

But after some time, the changes that were expected did not happen. Nothing has changed about how things are now.

What’s the matter?

Why can’t that person bring good changes to the company with all of his skills?

What’s the matter?

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First task

When top management saw that this person wasn’t getting any good results, they started to wonder what was wrong.

They really want to know why someone with so much talent isn’t able to make the expected changes.

And they began to look into what might have gone wrong based on what was written down.

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The reason why it didn’t work

After looking into it, it was found that the problem wasn’t with how well the person understood supply chain management.

Based on the results of his analysis, he knows exactly what is going on in the supply chain of the company.

supply chain management skills

And he really does know what to do to fix the mistake.

But supply chain management is not a job for one person.

Supply chain management involves a lot of different tasks, if not all of them, inside and outside of a company.

And it turns out that the person can’t turn on these different functions to make the improvements that were wanted.


Because everyone is interested in different things. They also have their own ideas about what supply chain management is. Some people know what they’re talking about, but it’s not uncommon for people to think that logistics and supply chain management are the same thing.

Also, not everyone is willing to give up the KPIs for their department in order to get better results for the supply chain as a whole. Because there are often trade-offs between the KPIs of different departments, right?

For example, the sales team wants to make sure that they always have the stock they need. Maybe they want as much stock as they can get. The warehouse team, on the other hand, doesn’t want to store too much stuff there. Here, there are different ways to decide what to do.

You should also keep in mind that change can be scary. People don’t like to change very often. Even more so if they have to stop doing what they have been doing. They are too happy with the way they do things now. Why does it need to be changed?

A manager of the supply chain must be able to figure it all out. He must be able to persuade functions that are related to the expected good changes to support them.

You can’t just make them do what you want. As I said above, each person or department also has its own goals. To reach the company’s goals, these goals must be brought together and made equal.

As a supply chain manager, if you push your plans without first changing how the different functions see you, you will fall behind. People will stop being around you. You’re not going to get the help you need.

The person in the above story didn’t fail because he didn’t know what to do. But he failed because he couldn’t get people working in different parts of supply chain management to agree on a good plan.

I’ll say it again: supply chain management has to do a lot of things to be successful. This work is done by a lot of different people, each with their own minds and skills.

And it’s not just about people who are on the same level or below you in the organization. It’s also about people who are above you. And it will be a lot harder to drive people who are in that position.

As a supply chain manager, you need to be able to get people to do what you want them to do. Your skills with other people need to get better and better. Of course, without losing sight of what supply chain management is all about.

If you want to be good at managing the supply chain, you need to know how to do both.

Hope it helps!

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Dicky Saputra

16+ years of experience in supply chain management. I help companies improve their end to end supply chain performance.

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