Every company experiences various pains – you could say it’s one of the costs of doing business. But are the difficulties you’re ignoring holding you back from becoming a world-class wholesale organisation?

Acute vs chronic

Given we regularly discuss the state of your inventory health, let’s extend the metaphor to your experience of pain. When faced with an acute attack – with impossible

Shifting through the gears with supply chain planning software

to ignore symptoms – that renders you unable to function properly, you quickly take steps to address the problem. However, in the case of more low-level, chronic concerns that might hold you back but aren’t life-changing, you are likely to ignore them for far longer than is advisable. The same can undoubtedly be said of the pains your business experiences.

Absorbing the impact of change

Consider a big overhaul of an ERP system. The exercise will bring immediate benefits and will undoubtedly change the way your team works. However, as with any technology, the system you introduce will be at its absolute best on the day it is designed. If implementation and rollout then take 6–9 months then during this period requirements and conditions will likely undergo changes. Some of these will be accounted for within the process of getting the system up and running, but from the first day that new system is fully in place, it is fixed. This means that any ongoing elements that emerge will have to be absorbed by the people operating around the system.

A slow creep towards crisis

Initially, it’s just a few workarounds here and there. But as requirements evolve with each passing season, the additional problem solving and surplus activities landing on your team’s desks will start to mount up. Ways of doing things become embedded in the very culture and nature of your business. And if something works well enough and gets the job done, why change it?

But there’s a difference between getting the job done and getting it done in the best way and the gap between those two levels of performance and efficiency can be the difference between an organisation that is just about surviving and a world-class wholesale business.

The shock of the new

It can be hard to identify issues with processes and systems when we’re operating within them. Often it takes a major shakeup – say a new CEO coming in or even this year’s example of a pandemic – to bring things into relief and drive the process of change management. A crisis can quickly reveal all of the areas of your business that are struggling and systems that aren’t operating to the best of their potential. Across the industry, organisations have been forced to recognise those pains that have become habitual and start to consider how to address them.

Those standard 9pm finishes, which at first just seemed like an unfortunate but unavoidable element of your team’s emergency response to the crisis, have now become very clear symptoms of nagging pains which will be holding your business back. What other bad habits have become normalised over the course of 2020?

Diagnose then address

We know how hard it is for companies to self-diagnose the key areas where change would have the biggest impact on their organisational health. With this in mind, we have created a diagnostic tool that gives you the opportunity to pinpoint priority areas for attention, highlighting specific activities to help you enhance business performance and resilience to become a world-class wholesale organisation.

Discover more about what the anatomy of this level of business looks like and try our self-assessment tool for yourself.