A couple weeks ago I wrote about having a shiny new Transportation Management System in place. The vendor and your IT teams have moved on to the next project, and you may be left wondering what to do next. I laid out a number of action plans to leverage the TMS to improve the customer experience, achieve more freight savings, or improve your workflows – ideally all of the above.
We also discussed “Stewardship”. And that is a little tougher to wrap our heads around.
Stewardship using a football analogy
So, using some football analogies, we will tackle that concept here.
As the logistics business leader who marshalled the resources and led the team (all first round draft picks!) through the selection and implementation of new or updated logistics technology, you should think of yourself as the head coach with a new playbook (the technology) that will outscore your competition. You need to know it intimately and be prepared to call any play depending on the strategic, tactical, or operational scenarios in front of you.
From global disruptions to gaining a significant customer, the team leader will leverage technology to out-maneuver the competition.
With information from various scouts (sales, customer service, planning, IT, etc.) your focus should be on letting your offensive & defensive coordinators and position coaches do the tactical heavy lifting.
You should be game-planning for the next opponent. That could be strategizing the for the next round of carrier bids armed with better data on your operations to be a shipper of choice; it could be folding in a new acquisition; it could be focusing on a particular customer, geography or product line to lean into driving top line sales. Irrespective, as the Head Coach you are thinking several series or even games ahead to provide direction for the team.
- What specific plays will we use to succeed?
- What sequence should the plays be run?
- Are there certain conditions (weather, injuries) that will dictate our gameplan?
The best head coaches consider all possibilities while knowing his team’s strengths and weaknesses. They also know when a leader should ask for input from a mentor or a specialist to supplement his knowledge. Perhaps you wisely engaged an outside partner (special assistant) that provided guidance and support through the strategy development, selection and implementation of your TMS. That partner should be ready to bring additional value from an objective perspective.
The best advisor will see your strengths (running or passing), your blind spots (a left tackle that might struggle against a bull rush DE), and bring some special insights to your game plan. Leading head coaches seek, nay depend on, creative input from experts. Together with your staff and advisor you will understand the capabilities of the assets (players and playbook) you have for a winning plan. True stewardship of your time and money is using what is now at your disposal.
Top coaches in sports and business know there is no sense in ignoring the entirety of your playbook or running the same plays over and over expecting a different result. Lean on your implementation partner to be creative in making the juice worth the squeeze (we will find plays deep in the book that can be a 90-yard touchdown). Challenge yourself to change the status quo. Be relentless in the pursuit of your definition of success.
Then get ready to share the glory of hoisting a championship trophy with your players, coaches, and owner (the business).
Further reading on Stewardship:
- Insiders Guide to the TMS Selection
- Are So-Called ‘Digital Transformations’ Really Transformative?
- Of ERP and TMS Implementations
Dennis Heppner is a Principal at JBF Consulting. Dennis’ expertise in transportation, logistics and supply chain operations, and third-party providers spans 25+ years. His experience is broad-based, spanning entire supply chains, including business process redesign, sourcing, distribution network design, transportation management, distribution operations, outsourcing selection, and business strategy for major manufacturers, distributors, retailers including eCommerce, and service organizations.
About JBF Consulting
Founded in 2003, JBF Consulting is a supply chain execution strategy and systems integrator to logistics-intensive companies of every size and any industry. Our background and deep experience in the field of commercial logistics technology implementation positions us as industry leaders whose craftsmanship exceeds our client expectations. We expedite the transformation of supply chains through logistics & technology strategy, commercial & bespoke software implementation, and analytics & optimization.