Art Koch's - Unlock the Art of Change™ - We're Not Building a Rocket Ship

We’ve all been there. The dreaded mandatory problem solving session.

The facilitator say’s we going to solve XYZ opportunity. There is a “brainstorming” mind dump of the issues, an excel file with filters and pivots, and to cap the meeting off, someone has a data visualization software they are eager to use. And before you know it you’re trying to Boil the Ocean or Solve World Hunger. Everyone forgets why we’re there in the first place…

This scenario occurs too often. Why? Because we like to think are problems are unique, difficult and we’re afraid someone will ask? If it was so easy why hasn’t it been fixed?

How can you avoid these pit falls?

  • Do the brainstorming and collect data.

  • Start with a manageable subset of tasks.

  • Keep it simple.

  • Set stretch yet, achieved goals.

Build knowledge and momentum.

  • Again, keep things simple. Remember, Rockets in their basic form are extremely simple.

  • Use incremental improvements

  • To build step functional innovation.

Lastly, remember; You’re usually Not Building a Rocket Ship!


Three Powerful Elements Small and Medium Sized Companies can do to improve their Supply Chain Management - Art Koch's Profit Chain™

During a thought leadership meeting I was asked what can small and medium sized companies do to improve their Supply Chain Management.

  1. Increase Professionalism

  2. Have meaningful Key Performance Indices - KPI’s

  3. Improve Inventory Velocity

Art Koch's Profit Chain™ - The Dream Team

Currently I’m working with a client to implement the Demand Planning, Inventory Optimization and Replenishment Planning solution, SO99+ from ToolsGroup.

After several months of hard work by the core team we successfully completed a significant milestone; Conference Room Pilot-CRP. I could not be prouder of a group of people

Looking back we could have not reached this point with out team work. But what’s team work? With this team I found three key elements they managed through.

  1. They respect one another. They might not alway agree with one another. However, they listened, tired to not make each other wrong and delivered joint solutions

  2. Worked to each others strengths and weaknesses.

  3. Individual Leadership. Several individuals stepped up to lead without being asked.

This past week someone started calling them, The Dream Team.

The Dream Team

The Dream Team

When I take a look at the core team we had members from by clients IT and Supply Chain Management and the solution providers implementation and IT teams. Additionally, team members are from eight different countries and four continents. Just think about this diversity!

It didn’t start perfect and it took several months for The Dream Team to “jell”. During early meetings people sat as departments, (the silo effect), and there was almost a “us” vs. “them” atmosphere.

Challenge was to make sure all team members felt included, without making a big deal of diversity.

At the first opportunity we arranged a team building activity, group dinner and the Chicago Lockout. At dinner and walking to the Lockout Rooms, individuals stayed with their respected departments. However, once at the lockout rooms, we made certain they were split into diverse groups. Afterward, people literally were walking arm and arm in diverse group. Success, we have the making of a team!

Team Building Events held in conjunction with significant milestones.

  • Lockout Room - required team problem solving

  • Bowling Night - required laughter and encouragement

  • Dinner and open bar celebration - required to mix and just enjoy the fellow team members.

As subtle as this is, it’s about being certain the environment is safe for team members to feel included and non threatening. Once the stage is set, they will deliver unexpected positive results.

If you let them they will become; The Solution!

Art Koch's Profit Chain™ - Tenacity And Will Power Win Every Time

I like to say “If it were easy, it would have been done”. This is what I like to call; Unlock the Art of Change™. These are used to get people to shift their frame of focus and start thinking differently.

Often I see individuals just stop trying, even after two or three attempts. Today we live in a society that craves instant gratification, when coupled with Leaders looking for the next big bang, an organization could be doomed.

It’s easier to quit. It’s socially more acceptable to not dream big.

It’s hard to fail hundreds of times before you get it right the first time. It’s hard to be in the gym, library, or lab when all your friends are at the party.

Tenacity And Will Power Win Every Time

It’s sweet to smell success. It’s sweet to feel the satisfaction of knowing you’re right.

Just ask; Elbert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Jim Womack, Edwards Deming, Jonas Salk (Cure of Polio), and many sports figures.

If It Was So Easy, It Would Have been Done Already!

Embrace the challenge!

Be the Leader You Always Believed You Could Be!

Art Koch's Profit Chain™ - Process Improvements

Just completed an excellent two day session for Core User training of team members at Optimas Solutions. We not only were able to train the core team, we also validated our design with significant data for ToolsGroup SO99+ Inventory Optimization and Replenishment Planning modules. Step functional forward for all stake holders.

Here are some photos of the training session.

Claudio imparting his wisdom.

Claudio imparting his wisdom.

Can you “smell” the focus?

Can you “smell” the focus?

After significant hard work and success. It was time for a little fun and team building. Both Supply Chain and IT needed a couple hours to let off some steam and energy. I think bowling did the trick.

Team Supply Chain plotting their strategy for the next game.

Team Supply Chain plotting their strategy for the next game.

We learned Team IT could bowl!

We learned Team IT could bowl!

And Team UK plotting an exit....

And Team UK plotting an exit....

Next step, CRP! Let’s show the same drive, grit and determination. Success has no boundaries!

Supply Chain Management is alive and well!!!

Supply Chain Management is alive and well!!!

I recently read the June 2018 HBR article “The Death of Supply Chain Management

Shocking….to say the least.

I liken this article to the mid 1980’s and the push for “Lights Out” manufacturing.  Are they shouting from the same roof top?  Have not educators and professionals alike learned that lights out manufacturing has an extremely limited application.  And here they are sounding the same horn.  I can hear it now, “The Light’s Out Supply Chain” or “The Autonomous Supply Chain”.

If the authors’ objective was to get our attention, they did. However, they missed significant historical lessons. Nothing can replace human tactile/touch of making the pieces fit together.  Just ask Elon how his autonomous factory is working.  How many truly believe there will be 100% autonomous networks of vehicles roaming our roadways. Not many…we like driving and conditions change too often.

They’ve missed a critical point: SCM has been a 2nd class citizen within organizations for years and never let loose to show its true potential.  And NOW with big data, AI, and better analytics we have moved to the front of the bus. 

It’s time for SCM leaders to invest in themselves, organizations to invest in SCM as professionals. SCM is a profession just like CPAs and engineers.  As we move to the front of the bus, we as leaders in SCM must demand more professionalism within our profession.

The authors are correct, in there are significant benefits to AI and linking; sales, demand planning, inventory optimization and replenishment planning.  However, there must always be a strategy, vision and professionalism to “right the ship”.

SCM welcome to 1st Class!!!  Let’s act like we belong and let’s not blow the opportunity to show the world what integrated SCM can achieve.  It’s a great time to be part of this transformation.


Art Koch

Advisory Services and Founder 


Thinking Big!

Just finished Alan Weiss’s one day session on Thinking Big! WOW…! Alan is the author of more that 60 books and the person behind the Million Dollar Consulting® franchise. This is my third class/session he has lead, all have been transformational for me as an expert resource and advisor for Operations and Supply Chain.

Key learnings;

  1. Don’t let our norms consume our creativity.

  2. Focus on what you desire in life to have break out Thinking Big opportunities.

  3. Build your brand; Entropy Busters!™, Inventory Is Evil!, The 1%=50% Rule, and Found Genius.

  4. Over communicate

  5. Stand out in the crowd / become an object of interest.

Alan Weiss and  Art Koch

Alan Weiss and Art Koch

Our class.  19 people from 4 counties.

Our class. 19 people from 4 counties.