Even as legendary football coach Vince Lombardi molded the Green Bay Packers into a dynasty on the gridiron in the 1960s, multinational companies sought him out as a motivational speaker on a continual basis. Why? Because the same principles he instilled in his teams that won five NFL titles in a seven-year span could be applied to achieve success in almost any aspect of business. That held true then, and it is true now—especially in supply chain service delivery operations that reach every corner of the global marketplace.

With NFL training camps in full swing and the preseason about to start, now’s the perfect time to feed our passions for football and supply chain service delivery by examining how these seemingly unrelated multibillion verticals are, well, linked in ways that transcend industries.

For the next eight weeks, this blog series will examine how football and service delivery are very much aligned.

Supply Chain Service Delivery: Move the Chains 

Move the chains… move the chains… move the chains… MOVE EM! That’s the mantra of every football fanatic from coast to coast and every supply chain professional around the globe who’s tasked with ensuring service
delivery runs on time, every time.

That’s what it takes to win—whether that means scoring more touchdowns than your opponent or satisfying global customers with timely supply chain service delivery. Just like a football team, service supply chain and service delivery requires the following to achieve the highest levels of success:

  • Playbook – A football team relies on a book of signature plays. A supply chain service delivery playbook is more or less the single suite of service supply chain solutions; plays (solutions) can be customized to each customer. The SPL playbook also includes details on the worldwide network of facilities that play an integral role in service delivery.
  • QB – Every football team has to have “The Man” at quarterback who controls the offense and is ultimately responsible for making things go. In supply chain service delivery, The Man (or in some cases, “The Woman”) is the program manager who monitors progress as it happens. This person must be a strong communicator to both internal teams and external customers, and have the knowledge and confidence to call an audible and adjust as needed.
  • OL – In football the drive to score starts up front with the offensive line. These unsung heroes toil in relative anonymity to control the line of scrimmage and execute a game plan to peak efficiency. That’s how to reach the end zone. Service supply chains operate the same way. The men and women in the trenches of SPL work tirelessly in a coordinated effort across multiple departmentservice supply chain football
    s to move the ball and drive revenues for customers. Getting the right goods to the right place—on time, every time—that’s putting points on the board. The right All-Pro players, in the right positions, executing with precision thanks to the faith and confidence they have in the game plan. A team in every sense of the word.
  • WRs – Think Jerry Rice… Lynn Swann… or any of the great NFL pass-catchers. The men who had a knack for getting open and the surest of hands to haul in the throw. In terms of supply chain service delivery, wide receivers are the global destinations where goods and services are delivered. As is the case with an Aaron Rodgers-to-Jordy Nelson back-shoulder throw, timing is everything in service delivery. Goods and service technicians must arrive simultaneously to achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction. A lot may happen from the time a pass leaves a quarterback until it reaches the receiver. Order tracking from the source (distribution center) to an FSL (forward stocking location) to the end customer is a must. Again, service supply chain professionals must keep the chains moving (benchmarks are our first downs) throughout the process.
  • Coaching – The head coach of a football team works with his offensive coordinator to draw up plays and guide their team. Service supply chain professionals from the executive level on down rely on an extensive team to customize and execute a plan designed to meet SLAs and obtain customer satisfaction.
  • Referees — There are organizations that are compliance watch dogs, such as the Bureau of Industry Security, and global compliance teams that ensure their companies follow the rules. They are very much like the zebras who maintain order on the football field — only global trade compliance penalties carry a far greater cost than 15 yards and a loss of down. One import or export mistake could cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in fines. Or worse—it could result in prison time or being ejected from the game entirely, barred from doing business in a country or region. In supply chain service delivery, when you know the rules you can maximize opportunities around the globe.
  • Stadiums – Just as home field can carry a significant advantage on the gridiron, knowledge about the countries or regions you’re conducting business in can carry a huge competitive advantage when it comes to supply chain service delivery. In football, teams are going to wear different cleats to accommodate natural grass or artificial turf; they’re going to wear different gear for games played in arctic conditions as opposed to those in a sauna-like climate; they’ll prepare differently for a dome game than one played in a traditional outdoor stadium. With supply chain service delivery, you’ll take into consideration the variables that are unique to the region or country where you’re doing business. Specifics about the culture, languages, and time zones of a foreign land can make the difference between winning and losing. That’s why having in-country and in-region support in place is so important.

 Supply Chain Service Delivery: Just Win, Baby

 See? Football and service supply chain delivery are indeed very much aligned. Both require planning, strong leadership, impeccable timing and precise execution.

The best play for any company who needs to rely on supply chain delivery services in the global marketplace would be to consider a company that understands those principles and has the knowledge and expertise to move the chains accordingly. As the Raiders’ Al Davis said time and time again: Just win, baby. That’s what it’s all about—whether on the football field or satisfying customers.

Contact Flash today to learn more about how supply chain delivery services can help you reach paydirt in the global marketplace. Let’s talk a little football while we’re at it, too.

NEXT IN THE SERIES: Service Supply Chain Delivery and “The Playbook”