Total Chaos Planning:How to chart a course in the middle of this mess

#wecare #supplychain #processimprovement #atomichabits

COVID-19 cases were down, we put our guard down. Now they are up again, and we might just be facing the dreaded “Second Wave”. Customers’ demands are whacky, suppliers are shut down or functioning at a fraction of their capacity, some of your workers are afraid to come to work. Local governments sound like a broken record player on the scenarios, restrictions, and urgent pleas to wear masks and exercise social distancing guidelines that we should all know by now.

More than ever, we need to plan. But how? How do we make sense of current tangled events? How can we adapt our lives and businesses to something we can barely grasp?

Here are some insights as to what can diminish the uncertainty of total chaos planning.

There are many lessons in the mindset of these processes.

Be acceptant

First and foremost, we need to accept what it is, even in this pandemic vacuum we are in. Acceptance does not mean giving up on changing our reality, nor does it mean we have failed. It is an act of wisdom and being present, without denying the truth. Acceptance takes real courage and strength to take the proper steps towards growth and, yes, success.

Be transparent

It is more important than ever to stay in close contact with customers. Not only to learn about their strange new needs driven by a strange market, but also to inform them about any changes in your structures and capacities. Transparency always sets the expectations right. It can also shed light on finding common alternatives sources or new ways of doing things.

Be strategic

Yes, the future is blurred but having a vision will hold you and your team through tough times. Remember why you are in this business and let that feeling of purpose guide you on.

Creating and executing a strategic plan with a (somewhat) clear vision of the future is the best way to align the team with the organization’s goals. Communicating, sharing thoughts, and defining areas of responsibility will engage your team members towards sustained growth, not only for your bottom line and sanity, but also for your vision and your team’s safety.

Be frugal

Look for alternative materials/components for your products. Alter them, improve them, tweak them, test them, let your customers know what you are trying to achieve, but always, always, guarantee the quality standards. These are perfect times to work with what we have on hand and not waste resources on what is not needed. Just as at home, you have reviewed your finances and decluttered whatever was not necessary anymore, look at your Slow Moving and Obsolete inventory (SLOB), stuff you have not sold in a year. Run a promotion of these items. It is a tedious process, but not only will you have instant revenue, you will also end up with more warehouse space, less carrying costs and better working capital.

Be nimble

Now it is the time for reflection and actions towards improvement. Unlock the power of simplicity and take advantage of slower times to conduct audits and housekeeping that you have been putting off due to time and resources constraints. Take a long hard look at your processes and see where you can cut, tweak, or improve.

Be here and now

I recently read the book “The 12 Week Year. Get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months” by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington, where they hold that you should discard annualized thinking as goals and execution get diluted in such a long timeframe. They use “principles of focus, concentration and overload on specific skills or disciplines” to gain results in less time. This has deeper meaning during uncertain times and creates a sense of flexibility and focused energy towards moving targets.

Thomas Edison wrote “If we did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves”. These are the times when we will find out what we are made of.

We hope things will become better, but while we get there, this is the best time to prepare for success by establishing a sound planning process. As always, if you want to learn how R&B Consulting Group can support your planning process, let’s connect. Simply give us a call at 905-757-9250, or send us an email at

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