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On Demand News: 01/14/21

Morgan's Supply Chain News--How culture eats strategy for breakfast in the supply chain: What are the core values that drive a transformation enterprise?

The Values That Aim
Our Strategy

What are the core values that drive a transformation enterprise?

14 January, 2021 // We typically write about the innovations that we see transforming our clients’ supply chains and the industry. At the start of a new year, we’re breaking from that to share some of the values that drive our own business.

One of the world’s greatest all-time business thinkers, Peter Drucker, was reported to have said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” And, while we can geek out on strategies, analytics and tech with the best, an obsessive focus on culture turns out to be the secret to our 30-years of success. 

Morgan’s four cornerstone culture values are far more than catchphrases. They’re part of nearly every daily discussion, the mirrors against which we examine our decisions. They apply equally to areas ranging from personnel to internal strategy, client relationships and even how we think about transforming supply chains. 

We have learned these values through decades of entrepreneurship, growing a literal spare-bedroom startup into a company that’s now a trusted supply chain transformation partner for two of Gartner’s Top 10 global manufacturing supply chains and a Forbes Global 2000 Top Five healthcare manufacturer. It’s our hope that the four principles that follow will help you think about your own culture and strategy in fresh ways for 2021.

Define Our Own Destiny. This is one of the first, hard lessons for an entrepreneur, but even large enterprises do well to keep it in mind. It’s easy to accept the limitations that customers, suppliers, systems and technology introduce.  We sigh that “It’s out of my hands. There’s nothing I can do about that.” 

It’s funny, though: Our customers never seemed to care that a third-party transportation partner didn’t give timely status updates. Or that it’s next to impossible to secure that extra air or ocean space during the crushingly tight fourth quarter. 

Nothing-I-can-do-about-it thinking invades so many subtle areas throughout an enterprise that we sometimes don’t even recognize it. Have you ever heard someone chalk up a problem to “user error?” How about going back and redesigning your process so that users don’t make errors in the first place?

Because of our determination to define our own destiny, we developed our own supply chain visibility and transformation platform. It’s been so useful that we spun it out into its own company

Even when we don’t bring processes in house, we work hard to apply our standards and controls to partners. And we never wait for a customer to communicate; we take responsibility to listen, learn and engage.

Find A Better Way. Early on, our founder had an insight: If you’re doing the same job as everyone else, customers will see you the same as everyone else and ask you to work for the same wage as everyone else (maybe even a penny less). That may be a way to make a living, but it’s no way to transform supply chains and make a dent in the universe

We relentlessly seek the better way: Designing effective transportation mode shifts. Using technology to accelerate processes and improve quality. Or, as we wrote about in a long-ago blog post, “daring to be great” and running the occasional target-left-bunch-Philly-special play. 

What would it look like in your supply chain if you refused to accept limited visibility? Or if you didn’t believe that you had to make a trade off between the better control of truckload movements versus lower cost less-than-truckload?

Invest In Relationships. You might draw a dotted line from “define your own destiny” to “invest in relationships.” That’s because, try as you might, your world is going to be limited to the extent it can’t move beyond your direct control. The only way you’re going to be able to make a difference on a 24/7, global scale is through trusted relationships. 

We invest heavily in becoming true partners to our customers. But we do the same with our suppliers and our internal team. So many companies talk about people being their most important asset—and so few really mean it. It is hard work moving beyond being transactional. At the same time, when a tough project or a sudden need comes up it makes all the difference to your success when you have trusted friends to spring into action.

Excellence Every Day. We’ll admit it sounds like an empty slogan. Truth is, no one is one hundred percent the person they could be all of the time. Even Patrick Mahomes throws interceptions. Yet, if innovation is what creates relationships, execution at world-class levels keeps those relationship healthy. 

We challenge you to think about Jim Collins’ famous idea of moving from good to great. Even if things are going well, why should you merely accept industry “best practices?” That’s just a term for the metrics everyone else is achieving. 

Collins once noted that large enterprises love the 2 percent, incremental improvement. 20 percent better scares the heck out of them. Two reasons for that: First, do wildly ambitious goals mean equally wild risk? And, second, if we can find a way to make things that much better, it shows that our team hasn’t done a good job up until now.

As a company devoted to the idea of transformation, we are in the business of daily rejecting those arguments. Global supply chains and technology are changing at a never-before-seen pace, post COVID-19. The winners in business will be those who see things differently, identify opportunities for radical improvement and then deliver on their visions. 

Happy 2021 to all our readers. There’s never been a better or more exciting time to practice supply chain transformation!


Heard On The Dock

If you're doing the same job as everyone else, customers will see you the same as everyone else and ask you to work for the same wage as everyone else (maybe even a penny less).


-- Morgan Founder and CEO David W. Morgan



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