As a recent graduate I started my first job as a Strategy & Operations consultant at Moore Stephens Belgium. I was put on my first project involving Supply Chain and Lean Management. Supply chain and lean management are very broad concepts, and soon I began to understand that this is not an industry you’re easily ‘in and out’. There are many different aspects to discover, thus full engagement and dedication is needed but of course given with pleasure.
What made my involvement with this industry even more engaging was a game called ‘The Fresh Connection’ that we played on a team day. In ‘The Fresh Connection’, four new Vice Presidents are assigned to save a fictional juice company that has declining ROI. Our game consisted of four individual rounds (due to a limited time span), after each round a simulation of the tweaked parameters lead to the renewed ROI.
As a supply chain newbie, it is an understatement to say that you are overwhelmed with information at the start of the game. Subsequently, my chain of reaction followed a similar pattern as the five stages of grief. First there was denial – “I know all concepts that are thrown towards me, of course I do… (not)”. Second there was anger “How come I don’t know this yet? I thought I learned these concepts in school?!”. Third there was bargaining… “Maybe I’ll bluff my way out of this, I’m sure I can manage…”. Next there was depression, “I’m not made for this”. And lastly acceptance, or even more so: motivation, “I can do this! Let’s give it a try.”.
Needless to say, I learned a bunch from this game. Here are 5 great lessons I can pass on.
#1. It’s ok if you’re a Supply Chain newbie
I made it out ok! Brainstorm, think logically, and you can stand strong as a team.
#2. Don’t let your head hang
The second round will be disastrous, be prepared. Minor tweaking in the first round evidently leads to a (slightly) better result. But once you get to the next rounds, you easily get carried away and I dare say a bit overconfident. Don’t let your head hang and take it from me: it will only get better.
#3. Handle with care
Don’t try to change too much at the same time. Tweak a few parameters and see where it leads you. I promise you will thank me later.
#4. Work as a team
Whether you decide to follow a pattern (e.g. from Sales to Purchasing to Operations to Supply Chain) or a mix and match, it is extremely important to work as a team and strive for the same objectives. Make sure to have a clear understanding of what direction you’re going, and you’re good to go.
#5. Save the best for last – or maybe not?
Depending on where you stand in the last round, you could take a leap of faith and have the chance to reach for skyrocketing results. Or you could stay in your safe spot and finalize with honour. It’s up to you. Choose carefully.
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