Beyond the Daily Firefighting

One of the many challenges of a supply chain leader is to ensure that strategic priorities and initiatives are accomplished while the important tactical and operational urgencies are addressed on a daily basis.

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One of the many challenges of a supply chain leader is to ensure that strategic priorities and initiatives are accomplished while the important tactical and operational urgencies are addressed on a daily basis.

In the last posting I described the classic situation in which a procurement professional is responsible for “the whole ball of wax” for a commodity; namely, both the strategic and tactical responsibilities for that commodity. Inevitably, since the operational and tactical requirements need to be addressed in a timely manner without fail, the strategic activities (which typically offer the greatest long-term value to a company) do not get the attention they deserve.

In our experience, the best way to address this business reality is to segregate the strategic from the tactical (see the Figure below). This makes sense for a number of reasons:

  • the processes are very different (e.g. compare strategic sourcing with all of its components, to processing requisitions)
  • the performance metrics are different
  • the skill sets required for success are different
  • it ensures dedicated resources for each activity

A side benefit of proceeding in this fashion is that your personnel – once aligned with the activity that best suits their capabilities and interests - are often less stressed out and more productive.

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About the Author

Robert A Rudzki
Robert A. Rudzki is a former Fortune 500 Senior Vice President & Chief Procurement Officer, who is now President of Greybeard Advisors LLC, a leading provider of advisory services for procurement transformation, strategic sourcing, and supply chain management. Bob is also the author of several leading business books including the supply management best-seller "Straight to the Bottom Line®", its highly-endorsed sequel "Next Level Supply Management Excellence," and the leadership book "Beat the Odds: Avoid Corporate Death & Build a Resilient Enterprise." You can reach him through his firm's website: www.GreybeardAdvisors.com

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