The leadership of Digital Supply Chains

The leadership of Digital Supply Chains


Vivek Sood




October 15, 2020

Boards always ask the hardest questions. That is why these gentlemen (and ladies) get to be on the boards. They know just the right questions to ask at the right moment. Towards the end of this blog, I will relate my recent experience with one such question.  They may not know the answer, but they know that they are facing fundamental disruption.

And, they take their roles very seriously.  Sometimes, more so than the management.

In their eternal quest to continued effectiveness, boards face two fundamental set of choices:


On one hand, they can massage the quarterly (or monthly, or annual) numbers and pretend that the results are much better than the actual results. A temporary high can be achieved month after month, quarter after quarter, year after year till the fiction can be no longer upheld.

Then you end up losing a tremendous part of your market value in a short period of time. While this story is all too common, the most usual alternative is not pretty either – read the story I recount in this blog post.

So why do many companies resort to massaging numbers? Are they not aware of the consequences? Or, are they just hoping to kick the can down the road till the next market explosion?

One of the reasons is clearly hard nature of the other side of the road.

To achieve fundamental disruption you need to apply relentless thinking.

Source: Unknown

But clearly thinking is not enough. There are already enough strategists who have done nothing else but thinking (and writing what they think).

 Action requires confidence

If you are wondering why so many of strategists’ reports just gather dust on office shelves – the real answer is simple. Lack of confidence.

In what?

Confidence in the findings, as well as, in the ability to implement the recommendations. After all, by now we have a generation of advisers who have made nothing but slides all their lives. Most practitioners have serious issues with that.



Fundamental Strategic Flaw in Most Disruptions

Most strategies fail to foster confidence because they are based on industrial age thinking. You cannot fault the managers. Even the best business schools continue to teach outdated industrial age thinking today. And, in the rough and tumble of the real world, very few managers have time to think and work out that they have been taught an outdated business thinking process.

I have written many blogs on the difference between the industrial age thinking and the information age thinking, so I will not repeat entire blog posts here. But I will put in one simple slide to highlight the difference:

Source: A Fiduciary Board Report – The Future Of Business In The Age Of B2B Networks,


So while leaders talk about disruption, their actions remain embedded in traditional thinking. Fresh thinking is even harder than traditional thinking.

Not just that, there is a new kind of leader that is required for disruption. For strategists data is everything – it allows them to focus on the select few things that matter.

Information age thinking needs information rich leadership.

Supply Chain CEOs think differently. They are able to focus on the entire B2B network simultaneously – both on the demand side, and the supply side. And they know which levers to pull when to make them match in real-time. My book THE 5-STAR BUSINESS NETWORK covers the nitty-gritty in a great deal of detail. But here are the five key levers in a nutshell.


My next book THE SUPPLY CHAIN CEO will cover scores of case studies and practical examples of the difference, and how you can apply these techniques in your company.

Before I stop penning this blog, let me highlight the question that the board asked.  The question was – Why can’t we do both the things together?

It is a great question, and I am still thinking of the answer.

I will answer it in my next book THE SUPPLY CHAIN CEO.

Copyright - These concepts, frameworks and ideas are copyright of GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN GROUP from the time of their creation. Do NOT copy these without permission and proper attribution.


  1. These ideas and concepts will be usually expressed by our thought leaders in multiple forums - conferences, speeches, books, reports, workshops, webinars, videos and training. You may have heard us say the same thing before.
  2. The date shown above the article refers to the day when this article was updated. This blog post or article may have been written anytime prior to that date. 
  3. All anecdotes are based on true stories to highlight the key points of the article - some details are changed to protect identification of the parties involved. 
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Vivek Sood

Our Quick Notes On Five Flows Of Supply Chain Management

Part of our new “Quick Notes” series – this report answers your most pertinent questions of the topic.

  • What are the five flows of SCM?
  • Why are they important TO YOU?
  • How can you map, track, and optimise these flows to serve YOU?
  • What is the importance of difference between "Supply Chain" and "Value Chain"?
  • What are the stellar case studies of each of the five flows?


USD 20


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  • Information will be the greatest opportunity for business leaders in the coming years—and perhaps our biggest headache.

    Since the dawn of the internet, all of us in business have been swept up by the Niagara of information that fills our daily life. Real-time updates from the Hang Seng index; online earnings calls; photos shared around the world seconds after they’ve been taken; customized maps and directions delivered to you even as you drive. It’s all breathtaking.

    Although I am Agree with Mr. Soods’s Statement “Supply Chain CEOs think differently. They are able to focus on the entire B2B network simultaneously – both on the demand side, and the supply side.” Thanks much for the information you have provided it is very useful for implementing supply chain in our business, keep doing the great work, Mr. Sood.

    • Everyone talks about trying to squeeze insights and wisdom out of data and information. This is extremely difficult. It needs contextual knowledge and ability to connect the dots. Even the best data scientists are useless if contextual knowledge is missing. That is the reason many big data projects never yield any benefits – but that is a topic for a whole new blog post.

    • Entrepreneurs are responsible for inspiring and motivating your employees to fulfill your shared mission. Doing so requires constant learning and self-improvement.

  • I was waiting for your next blog – turns out it was well worth the wait. I have already read the book you quote above. What will be the new material in your next book?


      Hopefully that gives you an idea of the content of the book..

  • For any professional involved in digital transformation efforts, disruption of traditional operations is inevitable. Unfortunately, sometimes certain team members might push back. If you’re reading this, chances are, you are pro-disruption. Technology pros often are. However, as a general rule, human beings fear change and will often fight to maintain the status quo. If there are individuals within your organization who are either not interested or downright hostile toward a focus on disruptive scenarios, you are supposed to take several steps you can take to bring them into the fold.

  • Entrepreneurs thrive on disrupting an entrenched incumbent. The tech industry has a storied past of established companies with seemingly insurmountable strength falling to younger, nimbler upstarts. Before we know it, an upstart can capture a moment, change the conversation and become the cool kid. To achieve long-term success, business leaders must adopt a mantra: Disrupt yourself before someone else does.

  • It’s not about disruptions, industry transformation is about new markets. Take Netflix, for example. Ten years ago, the company abandoned its data centers and migrated all video-streaming infrastructures to Amazon Web Services. Netflix realized its core expertise was not in managing costly data centers, but in content creation and software development. Using the cloud to free up human and financial resources has helped Netflix become the leading streaming video and original content platform, with 125 million subscribers worldwide and 112 Emmy nominations in 2018.

  • When talking about movers and shakers in different industries, the word “disruption” often comes up. Companies do not disrupt, people do. You drive corporate innovation and disruption through personal innovation and disruption. So how do you disrupt yourself? For instance, Intel, whose core business of PC chips is buckling under pressure from mobile computing, IoT, cloud and wireless innovations. To make matters worse, large microprocessor chip purchases from companies such as Apple are dwindling since Apple started building its own chips.

  • Individuals dread change and will frequently battle to keep up the present state of affairs. On the off chance that there are people inside your association who are either not intrigued or out and out threatening toward an emphasis on troublesome situations and circumstances, you should make a few strides you can take to carry them into the overlay.

  • To make long, extensive, haul and memorable progress, business pioneers must embrace a mantra; disrupt yourself before another person does. The tech-rich business has a storied past of built up organizations with apparently difficult quality tumbling to more youthful, nimbler upstarts. Before we know it, an upstart can catch a minute change the discussion and become the cool child.

  • Well, I believe industry change is all about new markets. The new markets are more prone to industrial and technological change. Take Netflix, for instance, Netflix understood it’s center aptitude was not in overseeing expensive server farms yet in substance creation and programming improvement. Netflix turned into the main spouting video and unique substance stage, with 125 million supporters worldwide.

  • The terms such as interruptions and disturbances are deeply associated with businesses. Organizations don’t disturb businesses, individuals do. The prime question here is how is it true that individuals disturb businesses? Intel and Apple center of business of PC chips manufacturing is now touching the IoT, cloud computing and remote developments. To exacerbate the situation, Apple began building its own chips.

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