Don’t Count on Being Lucky (or, Why You Need to Design Your Supply Chain with Intention and Excellence)

December is the month where we look back at the year that’s ending to evaluate what we’ve done, and look to the year ahead to see how we can improve our performance. And if you want to improve your shipping department’s performance in 2018, you have to act with intention.

What does it mean to act with intention?

Improved performance can sometimes happen by accident—occasionally we get lucky, and good things happen that we didn’t plan for. However, luck isn’t a plan. Sustained performance improvement within your supply chain and shipping department requires intention and excellence.

And in the year ahead, you’ll need that intentional improved performance within your shipping department. The trends that have made every industry more competitive will only accelerate in the coming year. In many industries, barriers to entry will continue to decrease. Competition will increase. Technology will speed up the pace of change. Competitors who’ve built their supply chains strategically and with intention might beat you to the market, even if their product is inferior.

The first step to building an intentionally excellent shipping department is to recognize the central role your supply chain and transportation management system (TMS) play in your company’s success. Apple and Amazon are two of the most successful companies ever. But it wasn’t just great product design that helped reinvent Apple. Strategic supply chain management helped the company amass a pile of money larger than a small country. And Amazon is basically one huge supply chain disguised as a tech company.

You may not be the next Amazon or Apple, but success in your industry depends on intentional, strategic management of your supply chain.

The second step is realizing that your company didn’t get in business to be a supply chain management firm. Yes, you do need to move products, parts, and supplies all over world—but that isn’t what you do. It isn’t what fires you or your team up. You manufacture, make, or build things.

Our team is here to help builders like you—and their shipping departments—improve the efficiency, visibility, and performance of their supply chain. But, we aren’t here to replace your shipping team. We’re here to take that department to the next level, and getting to the next level of anything requires intention and excellence.

Athletes break through a plateau when they become intentional about their training, and companies stay competitive when they improve processes, systems, or departments that have often been overlooked.

From supply chain management to freight forwarding and warehousing, the Flat World Holdings family of companies (Flat World Supply Chain, Flat World Hospitality, Ram International, Ram Custom Crating, and Prologue Technology) are here to help you build a logistics, shipping, and transportation management program defined by intention and excellence.

We also practice what we preach. Though we aren’t perfect and are constantly striving to improve our own performance, intention and excellence are values we expect of ourselves and our team.

In 2018, we look forward to working with your team to create a supply chain based on those same values.