The Infosys global supply chain management blog enables leaner supply chains through process and IT related interventions. Discuss the latest trends and solutions across the supply chain management landscape.

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The Pit Stop - An Agile Supply Chain

I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on "How to Gain Competitive Advantage with End to End Supply Chain Visibility" sponsored collectively by Sterling, Deloite and GS1 held at Oxfordshire, UK sometime in November last year.

Deloite presented how important it was to maintain focus on business operations, with a clear emphasis on working capital optimization.
GS1 (They design and implement global supply chain standards) delved on the need of standard based solutions that enable organizations to gain visiblity of specific assets and how this in turn is driving process improvement throught the entire supply chain.

Sterling demonstrated how leading companies are focussed on improving their supply chain execution, using real time inventory and better supplier information.

One of the presenters explained the concept of an agile supply chain with an interesting analogy. He took the example of a Pit stop, where parts need to be changed the moment the formula car enters it. There are generally 29 men at the pit stop, who have to replace the tyres, refuel the tank, tighten the bolts, carry out multiple status checks etc, etc., in just 7 secs. And you know what is their collective goal? To beat the competition, to better that 7 second timeline each time. To acheive this speed of service, it takes 12600 practice session by each pit stop personnel to achieve that 7 second deadline. The rate determination factor in this case is arrived by the time it takes to refuel the car, that's how they arrived at the 7 second timeline.

An Agile supply chain replicates the Pit stop model. If you are not able to deliver the right goods, to the right place at the right time, there are other competitors out there on the look out to replace you. Agility and visibility are the two key aspects that need to be given most importance while running your supply chain as they are crucial for business success and competitive advantage.


I was at the seminar as well and I too remember the pit stop analogy, which I feel is a great way of explaining it. The main key, I feel, is for each business to identify the rate determination factor, or in other words, each industry version of filling up the car. Once that has been done, you can then base everything else around this time frame.

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