Think yoga and the supply chain don't mix... Think again. - Institute of Supply Chain Management
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Think yoga and the supply chain don’t mix… Think again.

  • General News
  • 1st August 0201

“Yoga? Why am I even reading this? It seems to have very little to do with the supply chain”. Yes, I know, but give it a chance. The supply chain and yoga are two of the oldest practices in the world – they are bound to have some similarities. So, keep an open mind and take a moment to breathe deeply from the base of your lungs: ‘omm mm’. Feeling better? You should. The ‘om’ is said to be both the sound of the creation of the universe and the sound of silence – it represents the path to enlightenment.

Prepare to be enlightened.

The premise of yoga can teach us a lot about our profession. Yoga requires flexibility, composure and dedication – much like any efficient supply chain. So, let’s take a look at different disciplines of yoga and see what they can teach us about the supply chain. Vinyasa: Fluid Movement A smooth flow of sequential poses, each move following from the next. We go 1,2,3,2,1. The sequence goes on without pauses and requires a      flexible variety of skills to achieve the fluidity that movements required.

So, what lesson can we glean from the Vinyasa? People flexibility The vinyasa requires a varied skillset, the flexibility to move into different positions as smoothly as possible. To meet the meet shifting demands of a dynamic supply chain be it on the shop floor, a wide global range of suppliers, factories, logistics hubs or sales organizations – the supply chain requires people flexibility:

1.Multi-skilled operators are essential. They allow for flexible staffing across departments. Meaning machines will run during breaks, changeovers will be faster and maintenance can be performed at idle times. 2. Introduce flexible shift systems and annual time accounts. Utilise temporary staff to manage ups and downs with existing employees without raising costs. Keep everything moving as fluidly as possible to ensure maximum efficiency. See, I told you it would be useful. Feel the Nadi streams coursing through your body, take another breath, and let’s keep going…Power Yoga: Instant movement

Demands the strength to move into a different position at a moment’s notice. Unlike the 1,2,3,3,2,1, of a Vinyasa, Power yoga can vary wildly. It is very unpredictable and requires the strength and flexibility to move whenever it’s needed. How does this translate? Asset Flexibility being able to move at a moment’s notice becomes being able to move assets at a moment’s notice. Companies with high asset flexibility can boost asset utilization while meeting service and cost goals, and achieve a higher ROIC than their peers: 1. Implement flexible regulatory strategies that enable you to shift easily made products to second sources in low-cost regions, freeing up capacity to launch new products. 2.  Dedicate lines to high volume products and keep enough capacity for unpredicted demand. A pack to order concept and flexible packaging equipment facilitates small orders on short notice. Now, let go of your ahankara and be ready to move into something else…Iyengar: Assisted Movement

Iyengar practice emphasises holding poses over long periods. The use of props is encouraged as this yoga recognises that one body can’t do it all alone. It is based on giving primacy to the alignment of the body in the poses.  What does this teach us? Supplier Flexibility Just as Iyengar emphasises a flexible relationship with the exterior, the supply chain requires something similar.  Building up a solid relationship with suppliers gives you a confidence in your direction and alignment. This allows you to develop greater flexibility in supplier contracts: 1. Add contractual terms for supply flexibility. Products with an unstable production process may need extra safety stock. Products with an unpredictable demand require a very short order lead time. 2. To improve efficiency, set targets and jointly forecast with suppliers. Sometimes, this means suppliers can be fully integrated into a plants’ budgeting and planning processes. You must co-operate and build relationships to be successful; this doesn’t just apply to suppliers, but all workplace interaction. Go to your ashram and prepare for the next piece of knowledge…

But before that, I’m sorry, you’re going have to wait until tomorrow. I know you’re eagerly having your preconceptions about two of the world’s oldest practices shattered but it’s time to stop for now. A big part of yoga is patience, if we apply this to business we will gain innumerable benefits. So let’s take this opportunity to develop our skills! Take a breath… and come back here tomorrow to take a look at the rest of the lessons yoga can teach us about the supply chain… It’s going to be transcendental! t’s finally tomorrow! Take a look at the rest of the lessons here Namaste (The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you)

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