St. Onge Company Links Supply Chain Blog
Strengthening your supply chain one link at a time.

Two Baker’s Dozens on Avoiding Supply Chain Blunders

The following one-liners are based upon logistics and supply chain mistakes observed (of course, not made) over the past forty years.  Something for everyone to avoid here – from users to consultants to suppliers, sanitized, however, to protect the guilty.

Forgive the last two; they’re personal pet peeves – when will they ever learn?

  1. Not asking for insights from trading partners (or other departments in your company or organization) when crafting supply chain performance improvement programs.
  2. Everything has to be someplace – and, someplace is anywhere goods can be stored.
  3. Using average dimensions (package sizes, item weights, etc.) when sizing, configuring and equipping new facilities.
  4. Not considering the impact of future facility expansions when putting together a storage location-numbering scheme.
  5. Standing in front of a bar code scanner in a striped shirt in a demonstration.
  6. Specifying the use of retro-reflective bar code labels for component identification in the auto industry without checking on label vendor new label turnaround time.
  7. Missing paragraph in the specification of an early DoD project sends six million bar code labels from the low bidder to the dumpster
  8. Third-shift hot water spray cleaning of inside of laser scanners in an FDA-regulated meat processing plant goes undetected for weeks while contributing to production count shortfalls.
  9. Treating sophisticated and unsophisticated clients alike
  10. Not performing in-depth supplier reference checks before contract award
  11. Over-promising and its corollary, under-delivering
  12. Straying from fundamentals in assessing alternative solutions
  13. Force fitting solutions with little respect for actual requirements
  14. Trying to quick fix flaws in process or material flows with technology or systems – a.k.a., SBS (silver bullet syndrome).
  15. Overlooking indirect cost reduction in building the business case for new programs
  16. Underestimating client (consultant, supplier, integrator) resources & capabilities
  17. Overestimating client (consultant, supplier, integrator) resources & capabilities
  18. Springing (read that as imposing) change on the workforce
  19. Not examining all aspects of total costs of ownership before making commitment
  20. Not reaching user, supplier and integrator consensus on project expectations before launch
  21. Accelerating testing schedule just before Christmas and sending a crane through outside wall during blizzard (not that this ever actually happened!)
  22. Refusing to admit you need help
  23. Going “silent” when problems arise
  24. Walking away (or not)
  25. Overt selling from the industry podium
  26. Failing to share “lessons learned” with the industry (market, community)

Everyone can learn from their own mistakes.  The wisest will learn from the mistakes of others.
—John Hill, St. Onge Company

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St. Onge Company is Proud to Have Been Ranked Among the Highest-Scoring Businesses on Inc. Magazine’s Annual List of Best Workplaces for 2023

We have been named to Inc. Magazine’s annual Best Workplaces list! Featured in the May/June 2023 issue, the list is the result of a comprehensive measurement of American companies that have excelled in creating exceptional workplaces and company culture, whether operating in a physical or a virtual facility.

From thousands of entries, we are one of only 591 companies honored.

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