Nov 29, 2011

New Year’s Resolution: Lose Weight AND “Trim the Fat” From Your Supply Chain

It is easy to commit to generic goals like losing weight and getting a better job, but without identifying specific factors that you can keep track of along the way, many general New Year’s resolutions end up like road kill in the middle of a messy highway paved with good intentions. By applying S.M.A.R.T. goals to increase the efficiency of your sustainable supply chain procedures, you can fulfill at least one of your New Year’s resolutions.

Certified supply chain managers and recent graduates in any business management program have certainly encountered S.M.A.R.T. goals in courses that study best practice management theory. For those that are not familiar, the acronym is meant to help managers build strategic goals that are:

S= specific





In this discussion we are going to focus on sustainable supply chain management and review goals that are attainable and relevant.

Attainable goals are essential for success:

Good goals should be like a productive exercise routine; you want to feel the stretch, but be able to walk the next day.

· Any long term strategic plan needs employees on board that will propel the momentum.

· Goals most aligned with specific job performance indicators will be the easiest to follow.

· Employees should feel a strong degree of authorship on his or her specific goals and in the process of monitoring progress.

Teams of individuals with specific goals share positive experiences which promote unity.

· Clear goals that can be articulated, monitored, adjusted, and shared become a vehicle for increased cooperation among departments.

· Assessing the supply chain process from the top down and bottom up, can help identify specific ways to “trim the fat” and become more sustainable.

· By focusing on reports that document a series of very specific goals like minimizing waste and procedural redundancy, increasing communication accuracy and corporate social responsibility, or increasing departmental profitability, the entire company benefits.

Relevant goals create momentum:

Just like in a weight loss program, goals that are relevant are the ones that are most easy to embrace.

· Be sure the focus of the employee’s review goals are relevant to their job description and day-to-day professional life.

Goals that focus on controlling external factors can be divided up into parts so that individuals can incorporate accordingly.

· Communication in all parts of the supply chain is vital, so be sure that at least one of every employee’s individual goals reflect this emphasis.

· Excellent customer-relations reduces cost, can reduce production costs, and makes the customer feel valued, so be sure there are goals that support your commitment to customer satisfaction at every level.

Review of goals need to be ongoing so that feedback, mentoring, and adjustments are relevant and timely.

· Moving forward with the dedication and consistency needed to stay the course and achieve long range goals means utilizing skilled managers who can mentor employees.

· Employees flourish when they are properly supported in their growth. Meeting regularly with a manager in a mentoring relationship is analogous to showing up to the gym because a trainer is expecting to see you; both situations boost commitment and motivation.

When all employees are involved in a cohesive company- wide goals program to increase profits and sustainability while decreasing inefficiencies and waste, the entire process gets a momentum of its own. This energy drives success, sometimes even beyond goal expectations.

Creating a sustainable supply chain in a tough economy is more important than ever. Applying a S.M.A.R.T. goals program to your sustainable supply chain in the upcoming year can help you achieve long range planning resolutions, especially if you are particularly mindful to create company-wide goals that are reflected in job descriptions and review procedures. Getting everyone on board to promote relevant and attainable (and sustainable!) goals builds camaraderie and forward movement. When specific and measurable goals are applied strategically and consistently, “trimming the fat” from your supply chain and making it more sustainable becomes more than a wishful new year’s resolution – it becomes a success story.

University Alliance submitted this article on behalf of The University of San Francisco’s online program. The University of San Francisco provides all the tools and resources necessary to gain a sustainable supply chain management certification online. For further information please visit

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