Supply Chain Expert John Caltagirone is working with an increasing number of large companies that need help addressing key issues that “keep them up at night.” Here’s what Caltagirone recommends supply chain managers do right now to prepare for the future.
The upcoming Supply Chain Outlook Summit will feature 10 different speakers who have their fingers on the pulse of the most important changes impacting supply chain management over the next 2-3 years. At the event, Loyola University Chicago’s John Caltagirone will show how just like the sports team that can’t afford to rest on its laurels, today’s leading organizations must identify what they did well, look at where they need to improve, and plan where they want to go.
With over 35 years of experience in supply chain management, logistics, and technology, Caltagirone has a proven track record of achieving positive change and measurable results through strategic planning and execution, as well as the implementation of modern supply chain programs. The founding director of the Supply & Value Chain Center at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business, Caltagirone is also the founder of The Caltagirone Group, a supply chain management consulting and benchmarking firm.
In this Q&A with Supply Chain Outlook, Caltagirone discusses today’s top supply chain priorities, how well companies are prioritizing their wants and needs, and the incremental improvements that they can be making to achieve better results. These will be the subject of his round table discussion with supply chain leaders from Chicagoland at the event.
SCO: How did you pick supply chain priorities as a topic?
Caltagirone: On a daily basis I’m out in the field talking to vice presidents and C-level executives who are involved with supply chain and value chain opportunities. They all want advice on how to prioritize projects and plans. And while many of them have internal plans, they also want to know what’s happening with other companies. It’s the age-old “What keeps you up at night?” question and it’s important that supply chain leaders have their fingers on the pulse of business.
SCO: What key message would you share for someone who needs help prioritizing?
Caltagirone: First, it’s that sustainability and corporate social responsibility need to be priorities for both organizations and individuals. Also, finish what you started. In the private, public, and academic worlds I see too many unfinished projects left to languish. You just can’t do 10 things at once and expect to do them all correctly. You also can’t do 3-4 things to 80 percent completion. You have to get one project across the line 100 percent and then move onto the next goal.
SCO: Why do companies struggle with this aspect of their businesses?
Caltagirone: Supply chain managers are busy putting out daily fires, so they’re distracted. A screaming customer, a late shipment, or a derailed train can all throw the supply chain department into a tailspin and push forward-looking projects to the back burner. To work through this challenge, companies have to look carefully at their internal and external resources, both budgetary and human resources-wise. The bottom line is that people in general tend to struggle with prioritizing, yet it’s an activity that can have a significant impact on profitability, customer service, and market share.