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Happy Holidays!

The snow is falling outside my window. It is the quiet, steady kind that mounds on the window sill… a strong signal for me to relax and enjoy winter.  I want to light a fire and curl up on the couch with a good book. I am a voracious reader. I think that this is one of the reasons why I love to write.
Three months ago, one of my clients asked me to help him out. His name was Tom. His request was, “Could you please publish collections of your blog posts? You write so much that I cannot keep up. And, the blog format makes it tough to read old posts.”  It is for this reason that I published the second Supply Chain Shaman’s Journal today. It is a collection of my favorite blog posts on supply chain leadership.
The Supply Chain Shaman blog is now four years old. Deep in the bowels of WordPress there are many, MANY posts. Over the course of the next year, we will be bundling these by theme and pushing them out. They will first publish in a pdf format; and over time, they will be available in a digital format for your ereaders.
I also had a request by Joe. He is another of my loyal readers, but he lacks the time to read. Joe asked, “Lora you write so much, and I have SO LITTLE time. Can you produce a series of podcasts so that I can stay up-to-date by listening to the insights through podcasts?” We responded to Joe also. Today, we have 65 podcasts that are available on iTunes. We are publishing 7-9 per month and hope to have over 150 by the end of 2014.  Over 85% of these podcasts are our interviews with supply chain leaders. Our goal is to serve the community. We want to make our research the fabric that helps supply chain leaders reach new levels of corporate performance.
So whether you are Joe or Tom, we have an option for you to learn more about supply chain leadership on this snowy day. I find that business slows down the last two weeks of December, and that it is a great time to reflect. So whether you want to read our now more than 40 reports, or check out our new infographics, or read our two journals, or listen to our 65 podcasts, we want to serve you in the way that you want to learn.
What Have I Learned about Supply Chain Leadership?
As I put together the Shaman’s second journal, it was a great time to reflect. I had not read many of these posts for four years. The journal is 33,000 words and over 80 pages. It will take you some time to digest. So, let me give you the short version:

  1. Most companies are stuck on delivering supply chain performance because they have defined supply chain too narrowly as a function. Less than 1% of companies have defined a leader to focus on end-to-end processes. The opportunities for the company lie in the cracks between the functions.  A good leader develops influence skills to be able to guide the company to seize the end-to-end opportunity.
  2. One in three companies has a supply chain center of excellence, but only  50% are effective. The issue is the lack of alignment and definition on an operating strategy. In the journal, I focus on how to remedy this issue.
  3. Talent is the missing link for most organizations. The issues to develop and retain talent are growing. The average planning job is open now for five months and 19% of companies have an opening in supply chain planning.
  4. Supply chain performance is about strength, balance and resiliency. It takes discipline and a focused program. It can only be measured in inches, not miles. Companies that have outperformed peers have had an unwavering focus against a strategy.
  5. Leaders design their supply chains and take responsibility for it end-to-end. In the words of one interview that I did this week, “In the last decade, many of us outsourced our supply chains. We hired contract manufacturers and third-party logistics providers; however, we cannot outsource the responsibility. I have to own the fact that I lengthened payables and passed bad forecasts to suppliers increasing costs and waste in the supply chain. I need to be a better partner. My team needs to do the tough work.”

Have a great holiday! Curl up and enjoy our content. Both the journals and the podcasts are available on our Supply Chain Insights website. And, if you have a great idea for us like Tom or Joe did, please send it our way!

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