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Winnie-the-Pooh and Your Supply Chain

The other day, I watched the recent Christopher Robin film with three of my grandchildren. I’ll tell you a secret: A.A. Milne and Winnie-the-Pooh are favorites of mine, even as an adult. What astounded me about this film was the nuggets of real wisdom contained within it.

This was one quote in particular that grabbed my attention:

I always get to where I want to be by walking away from where I've been.

Stuck

Far too many supply chain executives and managers I meet are stuck in a rut. Even my friend, Lora Cecere, is frequently publishing the results of her studies in “orbit” charts.

Orbit chart

Even the name “orbit” chart is revealing. It tells us that most companies are not, in fact, “walking away” from where they’ve been to the where “they want to be.” Instead, they are stuck wandering in circles—more or less, in an epidemic of short-term thinking.

And, when they do manage to wander far from “where they are,” it’s far too frequently in the wrong directions.
In the orbit chart above, as with virtually all of Cecere’s orbit charts, progress would be upward and toward the right. We are almost never seeing that in the companies Cecere analyzes. (At least, if there has been consistency in any of these companies, it has been in charts I’ve missed in my perusal of her work.)

POOGI (or Pooh-GI?)

If companies are to find their way “to where they want to go” (I believe), they must begin “by walking away from where” they’ve been. It seems clear from the numerous orbit charts that tweaking and re-tweaking the same parameters and methods they’ve been using for the last ten or 20 years. If they do not, they will never have a POOGI—a Process of On-Going Improvement.

Instead, they will continue to “orbit” where they are.

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So what about you? Are you still “in orbit,” year after year achieving various levels of mediocrity and fighting the same fires? Or, are you on a path “upward and toward the right” with a POOGI underway?

Do you know how to start a POOGI? If so, how did you do it? What’s working and what is not working?
Let us know. Leave your comments below, or feel free to contact us directly.

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Tagged With: Supply Chain

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