What Supply Chains and the Human Heart Have in Common

Most supply chain leaders are still diagnosing the symptoms of supply chain problems because they don’t have all the data needed to make the correct diagnosis.

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In explaining the importance of specification data management to supply chain professionals, it became apparent that it was similar to how mapping the human genome changed medicine.

For the medical industry, getting to DNA-level data enabled doctors to diagnose the root cause of problems.

For many supply chain challenges like quality issues, improving speed to market and creating true traceability can be accomplished by mapping the DNA-level data of supply chains—the specifications.

But, most supply chain leaders are still diagnosing the symptoms of supply chain problems because they don’t have all the data needed to make the correct diagnosis. 

In many areas of our lives, we still lack the data needed to find the right answers.

I know this firsthand.

For 15 years I’ve been living with an undiagnosed heart condition. My heart rate skyrockets to over 200 beats per minute for no reason, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to hours or even days. It feels like I’m having a heart attack.

A few months ago, my friend Penelope witnessed one and said, “What if this is serious and you drop dead one day? “ 

It was a great, but terrifying point. 

When it started 15 years ago, I went to a cardiologist and they gave me a device to wear for a few days. I didn’t have an episode during that time, so the doctors concluded nothing was wrong.

After all, there was no data to the contrary.

But, I continued to have these sporadic episodes.

Lately, they’ve been happening more and more.

And, I realized I wasn’t taking my own advice – I needed to take control of my data.

I started recording these episodes to the point where I had 8 months’ worth of data.

When I walked into a different cardiologist’s office 15 years later and showed him the data, he instantly knew what I had.

I finally had the answer because I had the right data. More importantly, I can now make changes in my life to address it.

If you’re responsible for your company’s supply chain, I’d like to be your Penelope.

If you had a recall, would you have the right data at your fingertips to find the cause?

If the wrong product was produced, would you be able to hold the right party accountable?

If you could no longer source from a large supplier, would you be able to quickly transition your business?

Do you have control over this data in one place or does it live in different spreadsheets, systems or with your suppliers?

Having this data matters.

With advancements in technology like specification management software, companies can take control of our data, and can use it to get answers faster, make more informed decisions and not worry about the unknown.

Supply chains and the human heart have a lot in common.

By better managing data in every aspect of our lives, we can save ourselves a lot of heartache.