About Us …
Thursday 24th May 2018

Bill Brockbank - Logistics Consultant

Bill founded the consultancy in 1987 to put his (then) 20+ years experience to best use.

A restless soul, his buzz came from fixing knotty problems, getting the solution stable, then moving to the next problem.

Two events led in an additional direction:-

  1. To our dismay, less than 50% of consultancy got implemented. The reasons were understanding, understanding and understanding.
  2. The huge increase in processing power and new accessibility of modelling software made the impossible easy.
    Overnight it became possible to communicate complex supply chain maths, statistics and probability to (er..) humans.


We're still a consultancy, through and through

The change of name reflects an additional capability, not a change in direction.

We consult. That's it. But we do so with a powerful and ever growing array of engaging, interactive, graphic Tools which help mixed ability and cross functional teams to sing from the same songsheet.

It's fair to say they do more; understanding the words and remembering the tune are two.

All without an ounce of maths. Players learn by doing, pretty much as we did as kids. The maths, much of it very advanced, is hidden.

It's a fair measure of success that users don't now question the maths. In the tool they recognise the responses they experience in real life, and have hitherto been unable to describe to others.

The Tools approach got christened 'PacMan for the Supply Chain', and that name has stuck.

PacMan was the iconic 80's arcade game. It required no instructions; the 'get better or get eaten' message being as self evident as it is timeless.

People got addicted - and very good. They learned faster by failing when the failure carried no penalty.

Contrast that with a business environment where most of the cards are stacked against the experimenter. Worse, it takes months for a change in inputs to wash through. Replace risky months with risk free milliseconds, and we see a spectacular leap in speed and permanence of learning.

The origins of 'Supply Chain Tools'

Supply Chain Tools brings the core tools and techniques to wider use. As each new supply chain insight is developed, we take time to encapsulate that learning into a recyclable solution.

Does this mean you have a ready made solution to my problem?

No idea! We don't know what your problem is yet. While you may be able to describe the symptom, only finding and fixing the underlying problem will give lasting benefit.
But once we do find and agree the cause, we don't prescribe surgery if aspirin will do.
Recycling means that where an existing tool or tools forms part of the solution, we do it very much quicker and slicker. We may even be able to demonstrate the general shape of the solution before we start.
The core tool will still need some customisation - 'part packaged' describes the approach, rather like buying turf for the lawn.

Can I buy a tool if I like it?

Maybe, although most times this isn't necessary. Done right, the initial use of the tools will prove so robust and so illuminating, that the issue can be closed. For good. If you do need a rerun, it's more likely a tweak 5 years down the road than a regular rerun.
Turning a tool into a commercial package is also horrendously expensive, perhaps 6 to 15 times more expensive than the initial solution.
Further, each tool is developing continually. Buying a version either means you're stuck with that snapshot or you'll need to buy progressive upgrades.

How do SCT charge for the tools?

As a rule of thumb, each user pays a sixth of the development cost. The charge is included in the consultancy quote.
While this makes our day rate look high, the total cost is obviously much lower.
You also get the benefits sooner and at less risk.

Which tools would SCT deploy on my job?

We don't know yet. Once we've identified the cause or causes (and we're not there yet) we might well be able to demonstrate a generic approach using someone else's data. But while every firm has similarities they also have differences.
To use an obvious analogy, the choice of tool or tools is down to the 'craftsman'. Where one uses a chisel and another a plane (and both produce immaculate results) who is to say which is 'right'?

"But my problem is different."

And no.
There are 8 very broad classes of logistic problems, rather charmingly described as 'a depressing lack of new mistakes'.
There are a host of nuances, for example there are typically 40,000 different possible combinations of settings which run a single step in your supply chain. (We worked on a complex chain with around 708 million tenable combinations of settings. When the steering group got involved, that rose to 2bn!)
Then, often overlooked, there's the skill and continuity you are prepared to invest in running the solution. For identical problems a commoditised industry needs robustness where the startup needs extensibility.
With over 100 tools in the bag, we'll have something close to your problem. (We even have a tool to keep track of the tools!)
The latest tools are largely modular, which means they can be reassembled very quickly when needed.

On Change: Some wish to turn the clock back. Others prepare for the next tick.
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