– Supply Chain Insight –

What does a flight from LAX to JFK have to do with your distribution operation?

Here at Syncontext, we’re big proponents of the power of small gains, as you can probably tell if you’re a consistent follower of our content, either here on our blog or through our social channels.

By the way, if you don’t currently follow us on YouTube or LinkedIn, please do stop by our channels and check them out. I’ll include links at the bottom of the article.

Ok, back on track. What in the world does a flight across the country have to do with your operational goals? Well, just as a flight has a set destination, your fulfillment operation (or network) has a set year-end goal. Maybe it’s a set cost target or a specific savings goal. The point is, you know where you want to end up.

As passengers on a flight across the country, fortunately, all you need to do is buy a ticket, clear security and get to the gate on time. You know where you want to end up, but you don’t need to worry about how you’re going to get there. Those details are up to the pilots and air traffic control.

If you’re reading this as an executive, when it comes to your distribution operation – or network – you do need to know, step-by-step, how you’re going to reach your destination and achieve your ultimate goal.

Course corrections are normal – and even expected – whether you’re flying across the country or running a fulfillment operation. It doesn’t mean, however, you can fly blind the entire time and expect your goals to achieve themselves.

From the moment an airplane turns on its engines and leaves the gate, all of its parameters are adjusted toward its end goal. Its route, and even its altitude is set, though it doesn’t mean it can’t be adjusted.

As James Clear points out in his book, Atomic Habits, on a flight leaving from Los Angeles, a slight 3.5 degree change in heading (equivalent to a change in direction of just 7-8 feet) can mean the difference between ending up Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Over the course of a 5-hour flight, 7-8 feet can easily turn into 255 miles, if left unchecked. Just as small (sometimes unnoticeable) inefficiencies in your operation – compounded over 52 weeks – are standing between you and your desired goals.

Don’t underestimate the importance of consistent and incremental progress.

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