Supply Chain Best Practices: 3 Phrases to Stop Using at Work

There are some terms and phrases we all hear regularly in lean manufacturing. You really could write an entire dictionary to explain and interpret all the lingo! But there are some phrases in the factory that might make you turn your head for the wrong reasons. If you aim to follow supply chain best practices at work, here are three phrases you should eliminate from your vocabulary:

1. “Because that’s how we’ve always done it.”

Words of wisdom: when the boss asks why you made the decision you did, never say “Because that’s how we’ve always done it.” To be clear, there is nothing wrong with consistency. It can be very beneficial to do things the same way over long periods of time, because it can lead to sustained best practices with long track records of success.

But you must know why you are doing those things again and again. If you are only doing something because that is how you have always done it, there is a good chance you don’t understand what you are doing. And if you don’t understand what you are doing, then you probably aren’t doing it well.

2. “I don’t need data to tell me what to do.”

Lean manufacturing is driven by data. The ability to integrate data into your supply chain process can make or break your team’s performance. But even though data is completely objective, it can be easy to fall into the habit of “going with your gut.” Data only makes your team better!

Data is a critical component of any manufacturer’s toolkit, and modern technology makes it more accessible than ever. So that’s why saying “I don’t need the data to tell me what to do” is so dangerous. The ability to get better data and analytics faster than ever before allows anyone to improve their job performance and efficiency.

More and more manufacturers are turning to technology and data because it causes measurable improvement. Industry 4.0, industrial Internet of Things (iIoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are all making their way into the industry. More and better data means more and better improvement – embrace it!

3. “That’s not my problem.”

Many companies struggle because they aren’t adaptable. Phrases #1 and #2 above show how this can be the case. But what’s even more poisonous to an organization is the inability to see the bigger picture. No one should be more concerned with his or her department than the overall success of the company. When one individual or department refuses to share resources, information or knowledge with another, your organization can become siloed.

These divisions create roadblocks within organizations that take years to repair. Just because something may not seem like your problem doesn’t mean you can ignore it completely. If you have the success of the company in mind, you start to ask yourself the following: “Do I have knowledge, information or resources that can help with the problem?”

Whether you use lean or Six Sigma In supply chain, many of us are all about continuous improvement. Being mindful of these three phrases and others in the same vein will go a long way in sustaining the health or your organization.