Supply chain innovation is not just a matter of coming up with great ideas;
you also have to convert them to sustainable, practical applications.
Following a disciplined process such as the one outlined in this article
will result in less wasted effort and more frequent success.
[BY KRISTI MONTGOMERY]
KRISTI MONTGOMERY ( KRISTI.MONTGOMERY@KENCOGROUP.COM) IS VICE PRESIDENT, KENCO INNOVATION LABS. KENCO IS A PROVIDER OF THIRD-PARTY LOGISTICS AND WAREHOUSING SERVICES.
TWO OF THE KEY CONSTANTS impacting supply
chains today are change and the pace of that change.
To illustrate, consider the Internet of Things (Io T).
An estimated 5. 5 million new devices are being connected to the Internet every day, 1 bringing with them
the potential to eliminate supply chain waste and
drive new efficiencies. To be prepared for opportunities with this level of urgency, and to avoid being left
behind, companies must innovate.
Although we often think of innovation as the
“Eureka!” moment when a new idea is born, innovation does not necessarily imply the development
of an all-new product or service. “Reinventing the
wheel”—in other words, developing something
entirely new—can be costly and is often unnecessary.
In the logistics sector, for example, innovation is the
implementation of ideas to create new business value.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, we may simply add
to something that already exists to make it better and/
or run more efficiently. Nor does innovation mean
adoption of the latest trend. We all know that today’s
hot topic can be the forgotten fad of tomorrow.
Regardless of whether an innovation is entirely new
or an improvement on an existing product or practice,
the goal is to make it sustainable and repeatable. This
is something that happens at the intersection of those
“Aha!” moments and a process that takes the idea to
full solution stage. This article describes one such pro-
cess, a four-stage approach that companies and their
third-party logistics (3PL) providers can effectively
deploy to manage the innovation of services and rap-
idly move ideas to one of two fates—implementation
or rejection. The four stages (briefly summarized in
Figure 1) are:
1. Governance provides a defined structure from
which all stakeholders can understand the
opportunities, processes, priorities, and appropriate boundaries for supply chain innovation;
2. Education involves discovering the roots of your
own organization’s and/or your customer’s challenges and pain points;
3. Research is guided by innovation goals and
encourages ideation across the enterprise using
design thinking, open innovation, and extensive
collaboration, which together drive the most
FINANCE GLOBAL LOGISTICS MANUFACTURING PROCUREMENT [STRATEGY] TECHNOLOGY
From dreams to reality:
How to turn innovative ideas
into real-world applications