Laying it out

We are not quite done, and the day-long meetings are swallowing the bit of energy I had rebuilt over the weekend. So I am digging, hard, and anxiously taking notes to be sure I will remember why we ended up taking this perspective rather than the simple one we all touched on first. I ask questions when it gets blurry or I do not speak the lingo: the amount of information is rather dense and recording all the scenarios proves to be an intense exercise. I am new to this, and I love learning from other active brains: some ideas get discussed, others respectfully and cleverly clash for further debates. Welcome to a strategic sourcing meeting!

Mind you, it could be any meeting, or even a workshop, where we, my client and I, play surgeons with one “simple” objective: peel every layer of what exists, and sometimes shows evidence of malfunction, piece every single detail out to reorganise the whole process into one that is self-sufficient, sustainable and profitable. Basic, is it not? When nothing is documented, it first feels overwhelming: where do we start? What comes first? What happens, or is expected to happen, prior to which step? Who is responsible, accountable, consulted, informed?

Yes, that is the RACI model: undeniably relevant tool to identify the “who” while defining the “what” and the “how”. It is not necessarily complicated, it is only demanding at first: looking like a mountain of paperwork, not systematically marked or inventoried, and aiming at filing all of it in specifically coloured folders. That kicks my interest, I must say: the opposite of a headache, with the secret pleasure of straightening and smoothing the sourcing project going forward, with a creative strategy that brings continuity, consistency and cohesion.

Creativity is essential to the success of a newly introduced process. Now, this is not about reinventing the wheel, rather it is more about redefining how the wheel can turn in a particular context, and deciding that one tire does not fit all: looking at something old in a new way (and “old” can stand for “already existing, would welcome some upgrading for better adherence from its users”). Different standpoints and brainstorming usually bring great ideas of which the best processes come out.

That is what is happening with my client this week, and it is super stimulating: not just for my own brain, definitely because we are moving forward, towards a simpler way of doing business where multiple stakeholders’ interests receive adequate consideration to harmonise the overall supply chain. This picture may sound rosy: it does actually work and satisfy the multiple partners involved in the process. In this case, I am happy to sit in day-long meetings, where catch-22’s get out of the way, along with any bureaucratic step.

Now I am off to document the ideas to introduce them to the rest of the supply chain group before the end of the month. My turn to present the vision and suggest creative tools to get there: it will be fun!