The keys to the success of the After Action Review process are honesty and the final two steps. A person or office should be assigned the responsibility of ensuring the problem is fixed. If no one is assigned the responsibility of ensuring the problem is fixed, it will be repeated. In combat operations repeating the same mistakes could mean the loss of lives; in business, it could mean the loss of customers and eventually the loss of the company itself.
Applying Sun Tzu Today
Sun Tzu provides a commonsense approach to leadership and supply chains. His words are as true today as they were 2,500 years ago when they were first written. Sun Tzu tells us that we must know ourselves. Getting out of the office and seeing what is really happening in our supply chains is the best way to accomplish this. You must also develop a detailed process map, which will give you a good tool for training your employees, as well as improving your supply and demand chain and customer service. Know yourself and know your processes, and you will be successful in supply and demand chain leadership.
Throughout Art of War, Sun Tzu lists the qualities of leaders and gives examples as to how leaders should act. He reminds us that supply and demand chain leaders are truly the key to the success or ruin of a corporation.
When the successful supply and demand chain leader discovers a problem, or a plan does not proceed as expected, Sun Tzu says that a process akin to the After Action Review should be conducted to determine why the plan didn't work.
Finally, what Sun Tzu shows us through his ancient writings is that, as far as we have come in the past 2,500 years with technologies and customer demands for faster service, the basics of leadership and root cause analysis for problems will still lead you to the top.