Everything Old is New Again: Bubble-charting Excellence

The noted American philosopher and intellectual guru, Willie Nelson, once said, “Amateurs copy; professionals steal.” Since I consider myself to be the consummate professional, I am stealing the idea for this month’s article from the work of three renowned supply chain legends – Ed Hisscock, Nick Gaich and (dare I say) myself.

About three years ago, Nick, Ed and I decided to write a book on Supply Chain Excellence. We were going to call it something like “Roadmap to Excellence – the Six Rs.” Somewhere along the way, the need to work for a living took precedence over finding the time to put the book together (although the idea still lives), but today, as I was going through some old files, I discovered some of the material we had put together to get us started. Over the next several months I intend to start putting some meat on these bones.

The first was a bubble chart. The bubble chart is a favorite of Ed’s (he is visually motivated). It looks like this:

The second part is an explanation of the bubble chart, put forth by Nick who, as you can plainly see, has a tendency toward alliteration:

Bubble Chart Explanation
No. Discipline Question(s) Answered
1 Relevance Is there relevance in the work we do or the direction we are undertaking?
2 Relationships Are relationships in place to succeed?
3 Rigor Is the necessary discipline in place?
4 Rhythm Is this repeatable/replicable?
5 Responsibility Is ownership and accountability clear?
6 Resilience Is it sustainable?

Joking aside, the graphics go well with another project that began in this newsletter—the “Three Things” that will affect supply chain over the next five years. That project has developed into an upcoming series of articles in Healthcare Purchasing News. The results of the survey will be reported in that organ, and follow-up articles will be written about what the folks who responded had to say.

The fact remains, that no matter what issues are identified, a structure will be necessary to effect any enduring change.

That’s the beauty of Ed’s artwork and Nick’s poetry. They represent the bones of the successful supply chain of the future.

Over the next several months I intend to start putting some meat on these bones. I will be treating them in the order Nick wrote them down, because I think that order is meaningful. The question in the first level (“Is there relevance to the work we do or the direction we are undertaking?”) must be answered positively before you can advance to the next step. If what you are doing or want to do is not relevant, you must make it so before you can go to the next question. It’s that simple.

So do me a favor folks. Take a look at the graphic and the table and tell me what you think.

Who knows, you may show up in our book!

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One Response to Everything Old is New Again: Bubble-charting Excellence

  1. Charlie miceli says:

    Count me in to help