– Supply Chain Insight –

Wednesday Wisdom: The Power of Small (but Steady) Gains

For fans of our weekly Fishbone Friday continuous improvement series – which has been in hiatus since last fall – we have some good news and some more good news. Fishbone Friday is coming back! And not only that. We’re introducing a new weekly series: Wednesday Wisdom.

If you’ve been a loyal follower of our blog and LinkedIn channel over the past year, you’ll know that we have a lot of content / insights to share from the many research partnerships we’ve been apart of and the many conferences we’ve contributed to over the years. We’re firm believers in a strong continuous improvement strategy in an order fulfillment setting, and we hope that our Fishbone Friday series has helped you (and will continue to help you) all become believers as well.

We also believe that, as you’re scrolling through LinkedIn, maybe on your morning or evening commute or just because you want a break from your day-to-day, it’s nice to see quick snippets with impactful insights or inspiration to help kick-start your next big idea or initiative. That’s where our new weekly series, Wednesday Wisdom, comes in.

But why Wednesday? Well, who doesn’t need an extra bit of motivation at the midway point of the week. And, quite frankly, it’s the only day of the week that begins with a ‘W’. When planning a weekly content series, alliteration is key.

With the introduction out of the way, let’s get into this week’s (the inaugural) edition of Wednesday Wisdom.

Here at Syncontext, we’re fond of the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. If you haven’t read it yet, we suggest picking it up at your favorite book store or grabbing the audio version online. It’s a quick – but highly impactful read (or listen, if you so choose).

While there are many points made throughout the book that would be helpful to really anyone – whether you’re someone looking for personal self-help tips, a high-performance athlete looking to gain an edge, or a supply chain professional looking to round out that continuous improvement strategy. If you’ve found your way to this blog, I’m going to assume you’re a part of the latter category.

After reading the book, if you do decide to pursue a challenging athletic endeavor, you can thank me later for the added motivation.

Among the many insights included in the book, like the two-minute rule, or the law of least effort, a impactful insight that we live by here at Syncontext is the power of small gains.

Without getting into too much detail on this (again, if you haven’t read the book, please do so), the power of small gains not only counters the conventional thinking that “massive change requires massive action” but it quantifies it in a simple mathematical formula, illustrated below.

As you can see, what this is saying is if you strive to focus on the little things – that are simple and easy to execute – and those things help you improve by just 1% every day, at the end of your first year, you’ll have improved by 380% over where you were when you started. Conversely, if you decline by 1% each day, you’ll end up close to zero by the end of that same time period.

The author, James Clear, suggests that you can look at this as a series of daily choices. Each and every day, you can choose to either be 1% better or 1% worse. And, sorry, simply not doing anything usually results in the latter.

At the beginning, you may not notice much of a difference between choosing to be 1% better or 1% worse. However, if you keep making the choice to be 1% better, you’ll notice the improvement is exponential. Think of it as a savings account, and the compound interest that you’re accruing each and every day.

To use a financial analogy, if you had $100,000 dollars, would you put it under your mattress and let inflation chip away at it over time or would you invest it (even in a low-yield savings account) and let your money work for you, as they say. When it comes to personal finance, the choice is simple.

The question is, are you making this choice in your distribution operation as well?

If you need some further inspiration, or simply want to prioritize your goals before you set in on realizing the power of small gains within your distribution operation, we might be able to help with a Strategic Opportunity Assessment.

Click here for more information on our Strategic Opportunity Assessments.


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