I just finished speaking at 6 Packed Supply Chain Conference in Dallas, Texas, and it was obvious that supply chain fundamentals remain in style. I presented on two topics – “Best Practices of Inventory Management” and “Leveraging Social Networks to Improve Operations”. There was standing room only for “Best Practices of Inventory Management”. At lunch, one attendee told me that she had to leave because the standing room was full and she didn’t want to take a group’s spot. Who knew inventory could be so popular?

I wholeheartedly believe in the vital importance of supply chain fundamentals as 80% of my clients dramatically improve supply chain performance with a bit of focus on fundamentals. It isn’t as exciting as the latest and greatest fad but it “works”! As executives are interested in return on investment, they are thrilled if I implement simple or bedrock concepts that generates 10:1 returns. For many years, I told folks that I focused 80% of my time on people with 20% on process and systems. Recently, I realized that I was undervaluing what I did – by asking the right questions (which relate back to the technical expertise), I was able to focus on the “right” areas. Then, 80% of my work goes back to culture change and people.

As I said in my speeches this week, in today’s new normal business environment where volatility is the new norm, customers’ expectations are elevated and speed is king, you must stand out from the crowd. Being exceptional on the fundamentals will get you into the main race. Then, you can expand on those concepts with collaboration and innovation to accelerate supply chain performance. If you’d like to hear more on these types of topics, please sign up for my free monthly Profit through People newsletter.