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Season One, Episode Nine

Supply Chain Complexity

It may be common knowledge among Supply Chain Professionals, but I wonder if everyone else in most companies really understands what is going on behind the software called MRP and the complexity related to bringing all of the component parts to be in the right place, right time and right quantity.


Most of us never have to dig in the weeds to understand this. We know that MRP is supposed to synchronize the supply of components with the demand of finished products or sellable service parts. So, why does every company face the same surprises, the same urgency, the same expediting, the same panic and the same parts shortages? We have a software that is designed to fix all that, right?


Well, let me tell you a funny (hypothetical) story. I came home at 4pm today to let my wife know that I have invited 10 guests to dinner. It’s my work team and I must prepare some discussion points and it’s my wife’s role to produce a lovely dinner for us all. She can join us if she wants to, I say, but she’ll probably be bored to death. Now, based on the previous sentences, what do you think is my life expectancy? If you guessed “one minute” you are an optimist.


First of all, she does not have all the proper ingredients. Second, she doesn’t have enough time to prepare the food. Third, she has other things planned to do. Do I really need to list all these? Most of us know intuitively that this would not be well received. Yet, at work, we tend to do things very similar to this every day. And we can’t understand why our employees are not overjoyed to work for us.


John Melbye, Supply Chain Educator

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