I ordered a gift for my wife from an online retailer yesterday and was thrilled to see it arrive this morning. Talk about a life saver! The speed with which goods and services move today is lightning fast compared to only a decade ago saving husbands everywhere in their last-minute gift purchasing.
The crazy thing is the speed of products to consumers seems to be on an exponential improvement curve constantly getting better and faster. In the not-too-distant future, I’ll hit submit and watch as my wife’s gift instantly materializes or better yet, receive it the day before I actually order it.
While I thoroughly enjoy this as a consumer, the inner resilience planner in me furls his eyebrow.
Increased speed and efficiency in the business has often come at the price of expense reduction, simplification of steps in a process, smaller workforce, or all the above and even more in an effort to remain competitive. Unfortunately, the metaphorical ‘pulling the slack out of the chain’ has both created benefit and potential disaster. The bean counters are betting on the come that the longer-term benefits of efficiency will outweigh any temporary interruptions in delivery.
Interestingly, this type of thinking is often siloed in the range of factors it takes into consideration. For example, while consumers desire speed/efficiency, they also want perfection. They want it work right EVERY time, not just most of the times. Any negative experience tends to get you less stars on the review or a negative comment on the social media platform of your choice. Consumer expectations are on that same exponential curve mentioned earlier. How do you balance that?
Separately, and probably more concerning, is what happens when goods and services are disrupted by a real disaster. Think hurricane, ice storm, or anything else mother nature or society wants to throw at us. These events create an imminent need, but the supply chain has slowed. This creates a real problem for consumers and providers alike.
I remember one customer review during Hurricane Maria where they absolutely torched a company publicly for not being able to provide lifesaving goods with two-day delivery to Puerto Rico when there was no access via air or sea, telecom was down, and the power was out. You’d think there would be a little understanding.
However, this is the world we live in.
Resilience doesn’t sit still. Therefore, those of us entrusted with building it have to learn how to adapt to this new and accelerating normal. Where we once had more slack in the line, we no longer have luxury. Disruptions that used to be mere hiccups, may actually cause larger or more complex issues and larger-scale disasters may yield even greater catastrophic impacts. So, we must sharpen our pencils and figure out how to maintain organizational resilience in this tighter reality.
Like I said, resilience doesn’t sit still. Neither should we. How do you create slack in your organization?
More About The Author:
Jason Jackson is a highly respected executive and thought leader in security, safety and crisis management and is appreciated for his ability to bring people together when developing innovative, forward-thinking strategies. Jason’s experience includes leading Walmart’s global emergency management and business continuity teams, where he developed a vision for and launched forward leaning technology and operating platforms to improve the company’s ability to mitigate and manage crises. He most recently served as the Chief Security Officer for Bass Pro Shops family of companies with responsibility for security, safety and regulatory compliance to include cybersecurity, business continuity, and crisis management.
In his role as the Vice President of Customer Experience at Infinite Blue, Jason develops customer experience excellence by driving holistic thinking and making continual progress with customer alignment throughout Infinite Blue. Working closely with Product Management, Customer Success, and Account Management, he is the consistent voice of the customer throughout Infinite Blue.
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