China Supply Chain Management: Mission Control

China supply chain management is all about vision and having that vision executed properly by the China team.

We find that many of our clients have a structure to address the vision they have for their business.  They typically do this in 2 ways:

(1) Their global vision encompasses all elements of the business (i.e. Sales, Marketing, Finance, Supply chain etc.) and how they should interact, and

(2) the vision is set in different time frames, namely they will have a long-term vision (ten years or more) and then a shorter span vision, say 3 or 5 years. Then they focus in more detail on what they need to do during the next 12 months to secure these longer-term goals.

Various members of the organization often break these down to relevant quarterly goals to facilitate execution.

So, the goals related to their supply chain are often specific and timely. To get the results they seek, they communicate these goals to their China team.  The vehicle we use to facilitate this communication is a step-by-step procedure which goes as follows:

Defining the Mission

Defining the mission for month #1 is the first task we address together with our new clients.   We try to get very specific and granular about that mission.  What does the buyer want to achieve? What are the precise expectations?  Are these in line with what the China team believes can be achieved?  What resources will be needed?  Etc. Once all the details are in place, and both the buyer and the China team are comfortable with the mission parameters and how they are measured, we are off to a good start.


After the mission has been defined, your China team should implement a step-by-step procedure to get it done. How will they execute this mission? What needs to be done first? How do you measure results?


Once the mission is complete, it is time to report about the activities and the results.  Normally this reporting process is interactive with the buyer and often on a day-to-day basis by email.


The buyer who controls the process should evaluate how the mission went.  One way or the other, there should be a clear understanding between the buyer and their team about the mission and its’ outcome.  Was it successful? What else needs to be done?  Both the good and the bad should be communicated to the team.


Once the first mission is complete, focus on the next and use the same approach.

In summary, good management of the supply chain is a deliberate process of mission-setting and an endeavor for constant improvements.

Do you use mission controls in your China supply chain? What steps do you take to measure that performance? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


By Jocelyn Trigueros


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