No one was using the supply chain management system!!

One morning, an employee mentioned there were rumors that the port would be closed due to a dockworkers strike. I asked if anyone knew how much material we had coming in. No one did. I asked if anyone knew how much was actually at the dock. No one did. I asked how much stock have we paid for that hasn’t been delivered yet. No one knew.

I was shocked – no one knew what was going in our supply chain. It was all there in the system but no one bothered to look. Clearly they didn’t look at the data everyday. I asked why they weren’t using it.

They said it was all wrong and has been since the day the system was set up, so no one uses it. I asked how they managed the supply chain and they said they’d call friends at the dock and ask what they have, then call the customs agent and ask what is coming in. I asked if this meant our physical stock records on the computer were wrong and they said yes.

Always know what's happening in your supply chain

I have an apparel company employing different local tailors. We were launching our next collection with a fashion show. The tailors said they would have all the clothes ready by the 1st of the month, in time for the fashion show. I was totally focused on the show and assumed all the suppliers would do what they promised.

A week before the show, I went to one of the tailors and learned that he had only completed 10% of his quota. I looked at the garments and there were serious quality issues. The zippers did not work. The sleeves were different lengths and there were not enough stitches per centimeter. I panicked.

I went to seem some other tailors and the situation was no better. They had let me down. They all said “but I didn’t hear from you or see you, so I didn’t think it was urgent,” or “someone else came in with an emergency job, so I stopped working on your order.