Three supply chain management lessons from Jack Ryan

Blog image: Supply Chain hero

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is a television series recently released on Amazon Video. In the series, John Krasinski plays protagonist Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst whose cover is as a state department supply chain logistician. In the trailer, Jack is asked “what exactly does a supply chain logistician do?” and he responds: “I work behind a desk. I write reports.”

That’s not exactly the profile of an action hero. As the series unfolds, Jack Ryan’s character uncovers patterns that naturally lead him into immense danger. It’s quite a leap from a desk job to interrogating international criminals.

Although raiding buildings and narrowly escaping bombs may not be a typical day in the life for a supply chain management professional, here are three supply chain lessons you can learn from Jack Ryan.

It pays to find the patterns

Jack Ryan uncovers the shady activities of a villain by following a trail of payments. This pattern leads him to be transported from his desk job to the action-packed front lines. In the world of supply chain management, finding the patterns is the bread and butter of high-achieving planners. Successful supply chain planners ask questions like:

  • What’s keeping supply from meeting demand in this region?
  • Why is it more efficient to route goods through this set of distribution centers?
  • What’s the effect of this marketing promotion on global demand?

Advanced analytics like artificial intelligence and machine learning make it possible for supply chain planners to uncover patterns with a speed and accuracy never thought possible before. And when they find the patterns, make connections, and adjust as necessary, profits go up, waste goes down, and efficiency increases.

Everyone is a “Jack” of many trades

On the outside, Jack Ryan looked like just a supply chain logistician, but he ended up as much more. As the market evolves, the supply chain leader of the future will (and already does) play many roles. They need to be part marketer, part financial planner, part product manager. They need to understand how marketing promotions play out and affect demand. They need to understand how budgets affect how much factories can produce. And they need to understand how product portfolio management impacts the supply chain as new products are introduced and old products are phased out.

Being a supply chain analyst doesn’t have to be dangerous

Jack Ryan couldn’t have predicted that he’d end up in harm’s way after uncovering a trail of suspicious payments. Before he knew it, he was right in the center of extreme danger. Supply chain planning and analysis can feel pretty dangerous as well. Nobody wants to be at fault when products don’t arrive on time, shortages expose weaknesses in the supply chain, and profits or stock prices fall.

It doesn’t have to be that way. When you take a Connected Planning approach to supply chain management, risks and dangers can be drastically reduced because you have end-to-end visibility in your supply chain and can make demand decisions at the speed of business.

Whether you’re putting together demand forecasts, optimizing the path of inventory, or organizing an S&OP process, remember to find the patterns, play all of the roles, and steer clear of danger with a connected approach to supply chain management. With these supply chain lessons, you’ll be well on your way to being a supply chain hero.

Three steps toward a connected supply chain

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