Recently, we worked with a large, complex organization to provide an external assessment of the supply chain organization and how well it was prepared to support scalable growth. It reminded us of the value of taking an outside view every now and then. Whether you take yourself outside of your organization, hire a consultant or ask an executive from another division or trusted customer to take a deep dive into your organization, you’ll likely wind up with a few ideas – or, at a minimum, a confirmation that your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed and ready for growth.
It is MUCH easier to downsize than it is to grow successfully. NOT more pleasant but it is simpler to cut back. Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with this exercise. Yet growth has many of the same challenges:
- Cash is a constant challenge – by virtue of growing rapidly, you spend money in advance of shipping and receiving payment. The quicker you grow, the tougher it can be without a line of credit especially for a smaller organization.
- Are your people ready for growth? What “used to work” might no longer be sufficient. Have you prepared for these needs?
- Can your operations keep up? Do you have the resources, equipment, and support resources?
- Suppliers are likely to be ill prepared unless they are in lock step with your growth plans. Regardless of the preparedness of your team, nothing will occur unless your supply chain is aligned.
- If caught by surprise, you can certainly throw resources at the issue but to achieve scalable growth, you should have thought about your processes, systems, metrics and more. For example, determining that you’ve outgrown your ERP system as you “hit the wall” is too late. It will take time to select the best system for your needs AND it will take between 6 months to 18 months to implement, depending on your size, complexity, ERP partner, scope etc.
Growth is a hot topic. For example, according to our recent Supply Chain Briefing, McKinsey predicts 20% manufacturing growth by 2025. However, regardless of your industry, if your company isn’t growing, it is dying. We have NEVER seen an organization “stand still” and “maintain” successfully. Have you? Thus, growth is core to success. The key is whether it is a plan or an after-thought. Which is it for you and your organization?