Operations Strategy: Strategic Alignment and Deployment: Joining All the Links in the Supply Chain


Operations Strategy: Strategic Alignment and Deployment: Joining All the Links in the Supply Chain

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 - 16:09
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 16:06
In our last blog, we threw the first pitch on Lean Six Sigma, and gave a big picture introduction of how this methodology helps reduce waste and therefore, reduce expenses. In this post we'll take a closer look at one of the components of the Lean Six Sigma methodology, Strategic Alignment and Deployment (SA&D), and examine how it can help government organizations cut expenses.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
~ Henry Ford

Even the best plans and programs will not be successful if all parties and processes, no matter how small, aren’t focused on the same, overriding goal. The ultimate objective of SA&D is to create a collaborative, end-to-end supply chain that links across all areas of an enterprise. To accomplish this, organizations begin by using workshops to pinpoint problems and map strategies. These workshops help ensure that performance, technology, process and other organizational improvement plans are all linked to the overarching mission and vision for the organization. This, in turn, provides the rationale for any improvement initiatives by indicating ties to the critical mission areas.

For government organization SA&D workshops, the main goal is not only to define the mission, vision, goals and objectives for each organization, but also to focus on identifying potential high value initiatives.

The key to identifying these high value initiatives is to look at what administration policies and mandates drive your organization. For instance, the Department of Energy’s mandates differ from those of the US Navy. Often these mandates can help organizations pinpoint areas where there can be substantial improvement. Examples of these mandates and policy drivers are in the Office of Management and Budget’s Science and Technology Priorities Fiscal Year 2012 memorandum and Defense Secretary Gates’ mandate for a $150 billion reinvestment from efficiency savings.

A Cog Turning Many Wheels

These mandates affect the supply chains for public sector agencies and can be leveraged to drive change. The Gates’ memorandum, for example, affects the entire Department of Defense (DoD) and ripples down into everything from building maintenance to fuel savings. Organizations in the DoD can use this mandate to help structure their SA&D workshops and focus on initiatives that spur supply chain improvements and reveal opportunities for savings.

And, ultimately, these initiatives can help support breakthrough improvements relative to organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Some of these initiatives have led to millions of dollars of cost savings, which can be re-infused to provide for critical mission requirements.

Supply Chain Savings

In a nutshell, SA&D can help fix supply chain organizational problems and ensure that the solution has a substantial impact. Looking at federal organizations, there are countless supply chains that could benefit from SA&D, which, in turn, can help provide substantial cost savings.

Coming Next…

In our next post, we’ll jump into performance measurements. Stay tuned!

Let Us Hear From You

After reading this blog, do you think SA&D is a good way to press the reset button on your organization, and help reexamine and redefine areas of improvement? Are there new policy changes on the horizon for your organization that could be leveraged to help improve your reliability and reduce costs? Let us know.



Monica Painter Ms. Monica Painter is a Partner with IBM Global Business Services. She is IBM’s Global Leader for Lean and “Green” Six Sigma and she is the Operations Strategy Leader for the Public Sector’s Operations and Supply Chain Management Practice. She has twenty years of client sales, engagement management, consulting, team facilitation, and management experience. She also has a strong background in business transformation and innovation, business process management, supply chain management, change management, including strategic alignment, organization design and development, stakeholder analysis and communication, business performance improvement including analytics, and change acceleration. Ms. Painter is a certified Master Black Belt and is known across industry as a Subject Matter Expert.

She holds a B.S. in Marketing and Management from The McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia, and an MBA specializing in Organization Behavior & Finance from The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management, Boston College.

Monica Painter (monica.painter@us.ibm.com)