– Supply Chain Insight –

What do the San Francisco 49er’s have to do with your Distribution Operation?

For those unfamiliar with Bill Walsh, he was a former American professional and college football coach, most known for his time with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. His leadership philosophies and planning acumen is also the topic of many books, read by both sports and business leaders alike.

Throughout his illustrious hall-of-fame career, Bill Walsh amassed three Super Bowl championships and is credited with turning the San Francisco 49ers – one of the worst franchises in pro football at the time – into a legendary dynasty, and prolific point scorer. 

Although he prioritized the passing game during a time when running the ball was the conventional strategy, what set Bill Walsh apart from his counterparts was his leadership and an unwavering discipline to game planning. In fact, he was known to script the first 10-15 plays prior to the start of each game, something that was unheard of at the time.  

Ultimately, throughout Walsh’s tenure as head coach of the 49ers, aside from winning three championships, his approach led to the team scoring 3,714 points — the most of any team in the league during that timeframe.  

Bill Walsh, however, was not concerned so much with the results, but the process that led to the results. 

Amongst his many leadership philosophies – that are just as important in a fulfillment operation as they are on the football field – he was an adept believer that you should always concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results themselves.  Scoring 3,714 points was never the goal. His focus was to design plays that would allow his team to be in position to score the points.

If you think about it, every team in the NFL wants to win a championship each year and, for the most part, there’s an even playing field. Each team is allowed to field 11 players at a time, and both teams are playing by the same rules. Aside from the skill and compete-level of the players, the main difference between a championship team and one that doesn’t qualify for the playoffs is often planning and strategy.

Focus on the process, not the prize.

As warehousing and distribution leaders, you no doubt have many short-and long-term goals that you need to achieve by the end of 2022.   Maybe you need to cut labor costs by 10%, or maybe you’re opening a new distribution operation next year that you need to plan for.

Whatever your goals are, shift your focus from the goals themselves to the processes that you have in place to achieve them.  You’ll realize very quickly, with the right processes in place, the goals achieve themselves.

For every goal you want to achieve this year, what are YOUR first 10-15 plays?

If you’re looking for a secret weapon for your playbook, check out our fulfillment optimization system, SKUStream.

Get started with a no-obligation Strategic Opportunity Assessment


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