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Guest Post: Critical-to-Time (CTT) in Today’s Supply Chain (“Playing for Time”)

September 27, 2016

john-bowlerToday’s guest Post comes from John P. Bowler, who is Visiting Professor at the Keller Graduate School of Management and DeVry University’s College of Business & Management. John has 40+ years of operational supply chain  management experience.

The ”time-driven” supply chain has necessitated industry leaders shift their focus from the Wall Street  perspective of “cost as king” to the critical-to-customer characteristic of “time.”  The expert application of time is now absolutely critical to transforming a business’s current competitive advantage into a sustainable competitive advantage.  As such, time should be the primary measuring stick of the effectiveness of all actions which align the voice of the business (VOB) with the voice of the customer (VOC).

Hearing the voice of the customer is one thing.  However, satisfying the needs of the client is another.  Given today’s market landscape, this is not an easy task.  Shorter product life cycles, increasing consumer expectations, and the immediacy of the Internet of Things (IoT) economy all create challenging hurdles.  In order to sustain itself, the firm’s business strategy, product/service life-cycle management (the innovation cycle), and risk management practices must each align internally within the firm and externally with the customer.

The traditional “vital few” critical-to-customer characteristics are cost, quality, and time.  Cost advantages come and go. Someone can always do it cheaper.  Case in point is the ASUS TEK and Dell computer debacle.  Top quality is not only expected, but it is also a given.  Any firm providing a defective product or service faces both monetary and reputational (the slings and arrows of social media) repercussions.  Additionally, the boundaries between relative cost and quality niches are now blurred. is one such example.  All things being equal in the market segment, time is the prime differentiator.

Time is now the “vital one” among the “vital few.”  Organizations focusing on the “vital one” critical need of the customer ensure maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage.

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