We usually regard the individual suppliers in a supply chain as having a commercial orientation, which can motivate them to please their customers. One clear exception is the large entity that dominates its markets, because such entities are often less susceptible to this mechanism. Another exception perhaps overlooked and more commonly encountered is government. Organizations that need approvals, licenses, permits, or information must sometimes wait for service or for responses from local or national governments. And when government action is delayed, project schedules can suffer.
The obvious items include patent grants or drug and medical device approvals. But let's consider three of the more mundane items, which are more numerous and therefore more likely to affect projects.
- Passage through customs
- Many organizations send equipment across national borders to support partner organizations that perform project work under strategic agreements. For example, if software is developed in one country and tested in another, the testing organization might require a validated test environment, often including a replica of all or part of the hardware of the finished product. If the developing organization sends that replica to the testing organization, the replica must pass through customs in the tester's country, which can take time.
- Shipping the item well in advance of the required receipt date can help avoid delays in passing through customs. To determine in advance how long the process takes, send a dummy replica — one that's incomplete, obsolete, or in need of repair. Measure how long the passage takes. Use that data to determine the latest safe ship date for the real thing.
- Export licensing
- Exporting high-tech items can be just as tricky as sending them through customs at their destination. The laws of the country where the technology is developed might regulate what kinds of devices can be exported, on the basis of their destinations. These regulations might affect more than mere hardware. Do not assume that hardcopy documents are safe.
- Begin the Exporting high-tech items can be
just as tricky as sending them
through customs at their destinationexport license approval process as early as possible, and actually test it, again with a dummy replica. This test can also expose errors and confusion in accompanying export documentation.
- Local construction permits
- Some projects involve construction or modification of facilities. Even digging a trench for an Internet connection can require a permit from local authorities.
- Risk managers who identify permit-related delay risks early in the planning process are more likely to have success by enlisting the assistance of senior managers and their legal teams in advance. Beware though: if the response of senior managers is "Let us know when you encounter a problem," their assistance might come too late. If they do respond that way, apply for the permits immediately to expose the delay as soon as possible.
Examine your project plans to determine whether government suppliers are lurking in your supply chain. Apply techniques like those above to limit the risk of government-induced delay. Top Next IssueFirst in this series
Is your organization a participant in one or more global teams? Are you the owner/sponsor of a global team? Are you managing a global team? Is everything going well, or at least as well as any project goes? Probably not. Many of the troubles people encounter are traceable to the obstacles global teams face when building working professional relationships from afar. Read 303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams to learn how to make your global and distributed teams sing. Order Now!
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenzDVCmwHplItpKGvfner@ChacmvvrxFoxafcOPsmtoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Conflict Management:
- Totally at Home
- Getting home from work is far more than a question of transportation. What can we do to come home totally
— to move not only our bodies, but our minds and our spirits from work to home?
- Peek-a-Boo and Leadership
- Great leaders know what to say, what not to say, and when to say or not say it, sometimes with stunning
effect. Consistently effective leadership requires superior empathy skills. Here are some things to
do to improve your empathy skills.
- Indicators of Lock-In: I
- In group decision-making, lock-in occurs when the group persists in adhering to its chosen course even
though superior alternatives exist. Lock-in can be disastrous for problem-solving organizations. What
are some common indicators of lock-in?
- New Ideas: Judging
- When groups work together to solve problems, they eventually evaluate the ideas they generate. They
sometimes reject perfectly good ideas, while accepting some really boneheaded ones. How can we judge
new ideas more effectively?
- Face-Off Negotiations
- In difficult face-to-face negotiations — or any face-to-face negotiations — seating arrangements
do matter. Here's an exploration of one common seating pattern.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming November 14: The Goal Is Not the Path
- Sometimes, when reaching a goal is more difficult than we thought at first, instead of searching for another way to get there, we adjust the goal. There are alternatives. Available here and by RSS on November 14.
- And on November 21: Make Suggestions Privately
- Suggesting a better way of doing things can sometimes backfire surprisingly and intensely. Making suggestions privately reduces that risk, but introduces a different risk. Available here and by RSS on November 21.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenEQFllwjUDZYHNndSner@ChacZXapJFqpbVKsKnRXoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, USD 28.99)
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.