You Can’t Solve Today’s (Spare Parts Inventory) Problems with the Same Level of Thinking That Created Them
The above quote is a derivation of one of my favourite quotes and one that is typically attributed to Albert Einstein.
Over the years, I have seen this quote stated in several different ways and I have even read one source that claims that it is a misquote of something else Einstein said!
In any case, in my mind, the intent of this quote is this: to improve on what we have or do today we must do something different to what we did to get here.
This is kind of the flipside of the common quote that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Again, a quote attributed to Albert Einstein.
The ideas contained in these quotes can be applied to everything we do but of course I like to write about spare parts inventory management.
Spare Parts Inventory Problems Come From Decisions That Have Already Been Made
No matter what spare parts inventory problems you have – be that too much inventory, too little inventory, the wrong mix of inventory, data problems, accuracy problems, mixed up parts, poor storage methods, poor record keeping, inadequate planning, sloppy execution, or all of the above(!) – the problems come from the decisions that have already made on how to manage the inventory.
These decisions may or may not be made consciously. Even a non-decision, a go-with-the-flow approach, or an ‘avoid controversy’ approach, is a decision. (In my book Spare Parts Inventory Management I discuss how management systems are either designed or evolve randomly).
So of course, continuing to do things as they have been done and expecting a different result is crazy.
Equally, as it is the current systems that result in the current problems then it will take something different to get to a better outcome. Not just individually but as an organization.
Benchmarking as a Means of Action Avoidance
One problem could be that we don’t really know what could be achieved.
This would explain why some companies with clearly poor outcomes are so keen to get benchmarking data before taking any action.
Maybe they just can’t envisage a better result and they need to see what is possible before they are spurred on to act.
Unfortunately, sometimes it seems like they are just trying to justify to themselves or others that what they do already is the best it can be and so they don’t need to act. (It is true that some people see benchmarking data as a way of making them look bad rather than a way of providing insight into what is possible.)
Benchmarking as a means of action avoidance is a real issue.
Two Heads Are Better Than One
The ‘level of thinking’ concept that is attributed to Einstein shouldn’t be taken too literally, as in, to intimate some superiority of intelligence that solves problems.
Mostly I think that this is all about specific experiences (as opposed to the generic idea of experience) and learning from others.
Imagine, the world, if every time we needed to do something new we needed to start from scratch. We would all still be living in caves!
It has always been better to seek out someone who has the know-how, tools, or resources to help you solve your spare parts inventory problems. As someone else once said, sometimes two heads are better than one.
Use Our Network to Help Solve Your Problems
Isn’t this why we network on sites like LinkedIn?
To connect with people so that we can find ways to get things done better than they are done today?
Your ‘light bulb moment’ might come from an article in a group forum such as the SparePartsKnowHow.com LinkedIn group.
Or it might come from contacting someone in your network directly.
It might come from an introduction to a vendor that might just have what you need.
If we are not networking in order to find ways to improve, then doesn’t LinkedIn just become a corporate version of the ‘look at me’ game played out on Facebook?
Certainly, I am the first to admit that I don’t know everything. But what I do try to know is who to ask. That’s why I make connections with people that are smarter than me, or have different experiences, or have access to tools and resources that I don’t (and sometimes all three!)
Our vision is to be the global go-to website for spare parts management training and services.
We will achieve that by connecting you with people that can provide that ‘something different’ that you might need to reach your goals.
Check out our Spare Parts Alliance page or contact us for introductions.