Volume 11 Number 8 - August 6, 2013


The Finish Strong® monthly e-newsletter is for business leaders who recognize Operations as a strategic function that creates competitive advantage, profitability and brand loyalty to the marketplace.

These brief articles, list of events, and amended quote will make you think.
Go ahead: test us


Each of you knows that your and your customers' supply chains have inherent risk. We know about the "act of nature," the major labor strike or lockout, and the "world-wide shortage" interruptions. We tend to be more aware of these Big Bang potentials than of our daily high-risk behaviors. Here are three specific examples of daily decisions that you may not have considered:

First, consider communication of demand or engineering data with suppliers via email the same as emailing to your competition. We all know email is not secured communication, yet companies continue to transmit confidential data that way. Secured supplier and customer portals have been around for years; if you wouldn't email it to your competitors, don't email it to your suppliers.

Next, regardless of how you provide information to your suppliers, do you verify that they treat it as you would? They have employees, suppliers, and other customers, and each of those may not appreciate confidentiality as it impacts you. Look at the systems you have in place to manage your customers' confidential data and compare those to the information protection processes your suppliers execute. Is either any good at managing trust? If you don't want it on the front page of the paper, don't let it happen.

Thirdly, many CFOs emphasize the supposed advantage of paying suppliers more slowly. How does that make you a more desirable customer? How does that help your supplier become better? It doesn't. It puts you at higher risk.

Supply chain exposure permeates business relationships, and most companies get hit by a major interruption at some point. This list of three simple threats that you can impact every day may sound boring, but who needs the excitement of basic errors jeopardizing your success?


When I read articles about metrics to assess how lean one company is compared to another, I tend to respond with a big yawn. Who cares?

Lean is not the goal. Getting better every day is the goal. Being good enough to deserve, obtain and keep profitable business from your markets is the goal. Having management processes that develop people, processes, and product is the goal.

If a company is "more lean" than yours, the question is "what can we learn from them to make our company better?" But then that's the question for every company.




The Starting Pistol
William James:
“Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"Listen fully. Then ask questions to clarify. Otherwise you are just seeking victory."

If you know a company — customer, supplier, friend, or your own — that could benefit
from improved operations, let us know.
Your best interest is our best interest.


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