Recently, we worked with a large, complex organization to provide an external assessment of its supply chain organization and how well it was prepared to support scalable growth. It reminded us of how valuable taking an outside view every now and then can be. Whether you take yourself outside of your organization, hire a consultant, or ask an executive from another division or trusted customer to take a deep dive into your organization, you’ll likely wind up with a few ideas, or, at a minimum, a confirmation that your I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed and ready for growth.

It’s much easier to downsize than it is to grow successfully. While not pleasant, cutting back can be simple. Unfortunately, we’re all too familiar with this exercise.

Growth has many of the same challenges:

Cash is a constant challenge. By virtue of growing rapidly, you spend money in advance of shipping and receiving payment. The quicker you grow, the tougher it can be without a line of credit, especially for a smaller organization.

Are your people ready for growth? What “used to work” might no longer be sufficient. Have you prepared for these needs?

Can your operations keep up? Do you have the resources, equipment, and support resources?

Suppliers are likely to be ill prepared unless they’re in lock step with your growth plans. Regardless of the preparedness of your team, nothing will occur unless your supply chain is aligned.

If caught by surprise, you can certainly throw resources at the issue, but it will be difficult to achieve scalable growth unless you’ve adequately thought about your processes, systems, metrics, and more. For example, determining that you’ve outgrown your ERP system as you “hit the wall” is too late. It will take time to select the best system for your needs, and a new system will take between six and 18 months to implement, depending on your size, complexity, ERP partner, scope, etc.

Growth is a hot topic. For example, according to our recent Supply Chain Briefing, McKinsey predicts 20 percent manufacturing growth by 2025; however, if your company isn’t growing, it is dying. We have never seen an organization “stand still” and “maintain” success. Have you? Thus, growth is core to success. The key is whether it’s a plan or an after-thought. Which is it for you and your organization?

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Publication date: 01/28/18