Goldfish, Supply Chain Management and Smartphones … Huh?

07 Jul Goldfish, Supply Chain Management and Smartphones … Huh?

You’re asking yourself, what do Goldfish, Supply Chains and Smartphones have to do with one another? The average attention span has dropped to 8 seconds, which is shorter than the attention span of a goldfish, which is 9 seconds.  That means an Internet marketer has 8 seconds to convince a reader that their content is worth another 8 seconds.  The key take way for anyone is that if something is not apparent in 8 seconds, you may lose your audience.  Supply chain executives need to understand this issue and not fight it, but leverage it using smartphones.

Providing supply chain information on Smartphones is not a new concept.  However, taking a conventional enterprise business intelligence approach will not help.  In a typical web-based business intelligence scenario, a user will need to drill down various times and perform several queries before getting to the relevant key performance indicators.  In my own business, when I see a spreadsheet report, I know I need to spend more than 8 seconds to find a piece of information.  Business intelligence systems are made for deep dive information, leveraging analytics and swimming through mountains of data.

Here are three items to consider in order to take those short attention spans and turn them into a competitive supply chain advantage:

Less is more: A Shallow-Dive.  The approach on smartphones need to take the goldfish’s perspective into account and think the opposite of a deep-dive: the shallow-dive approach.  A shallow drive approach considers a “less-is-more” strategy.  In this approach, sophisticated back-end analytics (not running on the smartphone, but in a cloud environment) manipulates the data and provides primary key performance indicators relevant to the user as quickly as possible.

People are Visual Learners.  Since there is a very limited amount of time supply chain organizations have with their teams when communicating KPI’s, lets use that time more efficiently.  Research by 3M Corporation reveals that visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text.  While it may not be feasible to have 60,000 pictures in a KPI analysis on smartphone, the important KPI’s should be presented in a visual format.

Collaboration needs to be a social two-way conversation.  With a short attention span, supply chain organizations can consider distributing the information to more people.  We can apply very simply math: if 8 members of a supply chain organization can spend 8 seconds on an issue, we at least have over 1 minute of attention.  With conversations continuing, we have more attention on specific issues.