One of our spouses, we won't say which one, finds herself being volunteered to watch over a slightly mismatched set of grandchildren once a week. Both boys, they operate in a range from frenetic to tornadic. The younger is capable of hitting the E above high C when provoked. They are mostly a delight.
The lovable lads are occasionally joined by their eight-year-old cousin, whose perpetually high motor is matched by constant decibel levels not often heard since Ethel Merman left the Broadway stage. The visitors have gone home by the time other grown-ups arrive, and the carnage generally has been swept away. But it is clear how the day has gone when the message from the distaff side is, "You're on your own. I'm having gin for dinner."
MEANWHILE, BACK AT SUPPLY CHAIN CENTRAL ...
A drawback to the gin-for-dinner solution is that it is temporary. Further, it can lead to rye for lunch and absinthe for breakfast, and those might become more permanent. But we face a myriad of challenges that can make even the temporary relief extremely attractive. So, what are some events and conditions that might make the supply chain leader contemplate ordering Plymouth by the case? Let's consider just a few of the possibilities:
THE CASE FOR RISK MITIGATION
It is all too easy to recommend forward planning against untoward, and often remote, possibilities. We, cooling our brows with icy bottles of England's finest, plan for prevention and recovery after thinking the unthinkable. And that's cool, as far as it goes. But what happens when the chief financial officer (CFO) tells us we can't possibly afford the mitigations envisioned, that we'll have to take our chances that the impossible won't become real? Gin for dinner—and just when we thought we would not need to seek that remedy any longer.
Maybe there is some encouragement, though. Maybe we'll make enough mitigation progress that we can lay off the hard stuff on most evenings. One may only hope ...
But it seems there is always something that brings challenge to our world. Even when we do what we can in the realm of execution, high-level planning and C-level relationships can tempt us to seek refuge in mood-altering concoctions.
Contemplate what can happen when we do our best to lead and facilitate sales and operations planning (S&OP) for the enterprise, and alignment proves to be elusive. The sales and marketing organization is sticking to its parallel-universe volume projections. The CFO flatly refuses to approve a budget that supports even a realistic version of what sales and marketing want. And the C-level officers form a united front against our asset redeployment recommendations that will meet demand projections and customer desires at an optimal balance point of investment and profitability.
To paraphrase Kermit the Frog, it isn't easy being supply chain management (let alone green). Where we have the advantage over Kermit is that we can drink from glasses or bottles or cans. And no one needs to know exactly what we had for dinner.