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Bill Mrzlak

Bill Mrzlak: The Tale of Enlightening Attributes

As a traditional management consultant in the initial days of his career, Bill Mrzlak possessed no particular specialty other than general business process improvement and reengineering.

In the mid-1990s, a former colleague presented a unique professional opportunity to work exclusively in the supply chain space, master and deploy a premium, proprietary planning process model and travel extensively to key manufacturing hubs throughout North America, the UK, Europe, and Asia. Bill chose to take this opportunity and discovered his true professional calling. In 2009, Bill launched ChainSequence®, Inc.

ChainSequence® is a unique consulting group with extensive hands-on experience in high-tech manufacturing in combination with broad consulting experience in Supply Chain management.

Throughout the explosive growth of Global Supply Chains over the past 15 years, its engagement with leading corporations around the world continues to help these organizations enhance their business processes, expand the reach of their supply chains, and improve the effective use of their worldwide assets.

Bill Mrzlak is the Co-founder and managing partner of ChainSequence®, Inc. With over 25 years of experience leading teams in driving the development and optimization of best-in-class supply chain planning organizations and processes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. His specialization is in the area of business process re-engineering through facilitated sessions, as well as managing systems development and project deployments.

Today, Bill and his teams possess a sterling reputation in the industry for guiding client groups toward getting to the heart of what’s really holding their enterprises back. Their goal is to help businesses learn and facilitate a clear path for developing the most appropriate solutions going forward.

Many professionals who have moved on to new positions within other organizations continue to seek out Bill’s advice. With Bill’s proficiency and excellence, ChainSequence®, Inc is among the premier consulting groups providing international S&OP and supply chain planning expertise.

This exclusive interview with Insights Success sheds light on Bill’s professional tenure, his journey, and the challenges he surmounted while embarking upon the horizons of excellence.

Below are the excerpts from the interview:

Bill, tell us about ChainSequence®, Inc and its mission and vision.

Our mission statement asserts, “Committed to helping enterprises identify challenges, create innovative solutions, and implement lasting improvements in Supply Chain processes to advance Sales & Operations goals.” Unlike more generalist consulting companies, ChainSequence ONLY focuses on Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) and supply chain planning.

We share our consummate expertise in the S&OP/supply chain planning space with our client partners, both educating and empowering them to develop and achieve the best solutions for their organization.

Enlighten us on the impact of your work through your expertise in the market.

Throughout the world, at any given point in time, a supply chain in any given industry will face some type of disruption. We’ve seen environmental disasters, geo-political crises, and global pandemics provoke global chain reactions that have literally stopped complex supply chain networks in their tracks.

Although an enterprise can’t predict future unexpected events, it can gain more control over its future using a proactive—rather than reactive—approach. By creating an effective, intentional, and inclusive planning process to mitigate risk, our S&OP process deployments enable all organizations to work together in achieving strategic objectives and financial goals.

Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.

Because ChainSequence focuses solely on S&OP and supply chain planning issues, our team consists of well-seasoned experts in this space—when it comes to supply chain dysfunction, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in countless industry sectors all over the world.

For organizations experiencing stagnation due to obstructive, ingrained habits, resistance to change, and/or non-scalable process technology, our wealth of knowledge and experience introduces new thinking, education, and organizational buy-in with best-practice methodologies.

Emphasizing, “We do this work with you, not to you,” our goal is to make our client partners smarter, more efficient, and more competitive. Knowledge-sharing and guidance throughout the deployment process ensure our client partners can stand on their own long after our engagement ends.

Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?

It’s important to recognize the sequence of a solution: People first, Process second, and then Technology. Technology brings speed and accuracy, but it does require instruction. The steps of any process must be defined with accountable owners, required data, and expected results.

Organizations that don’t adhere to this rule risk incurring additional time and expense undoing or redoing a technology solution.

Machine learning, AI, blockchain, and other applied technologies can also have a huge impact on potential ROI. Balancing technological advancements with rules-based business processes offers the best chance for success in reaching strategic and financial goals.

What change would you like to bring to the Supply Chain Industry if given a chance?

We are determined to crack the code on the classic struggle of uncertain demand against supply. Demand forecasting accuracy remains imperfect, yet enterprises want and expect the supply chain to support unplanned demand. Further complicating matters, supply chains are experiencing longer lead times yet want and expect an accurate demand signal.

We’ve seen this conflict often, and it can become very emotional with a lot of finger-pointing. We stress that there is no “your plan” or “my plan” but rather “OUR plan.” To improve this contentious relationship, we work with our clients to best leverage their predictive demand forecast modeling tools and big data intelligence under the S&OP umbrella to 1) bring disparate organizations together; and 2) work towards one common goal – achieving success through unity.

What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the Supply Chain Industry? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?

Technology will continue to be one of the biggest factors going forward. The ability to rapidly project the outcome of possible scenarios will greatly reduce the time required to make a decision before the point of no return.

AI and Machine Learning already allows organizations to better predict the future rather than just projecting 20/20 hindsight. Another significant change involves supply chain network optimization. Validating the location of suppliers, plants, distribution centers, and last-mile delivery will get products to customers much faster.

However, this technology requires people to manage it and embed it as an enabler of the overall planning process. We will work with our client partners to leverage this technology as it evolves and ensure its successful incorporation into our planning solutions.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for ChainSequence?

My enthusiasm for S&OP and supply chain planning hasn’t diminished at all—I continue to lead the ChainSequence team in helping our client partners achieve operational efficiency and increased performance.

I expect the need for S&OP deployments to remain in high demand as our client organizations’ demand for long-term strategic planning grows in scope to head off those unforeseen disruptions lurking around the corner.

We will continue our expansion into new industry sectors as we cross-pollinate lessons learned from one industry to another. I also envision our client base continuing to grow both domestically and abroad.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Supply Chain Industry?

I still find supply chain planning and all its moving parts fascinating. Had I been exposed to this field of study earlier in my career, I would have made the jump much sooner. I highly recommend it as a career path for anyone.

My experiences over the last 25 years have been absolutely phenomenal. I have worked in so many different industry sectors and in locations all over the world. Along the way, I have met many incredible people.

There are certainly challenges—long days working in a global supply chain, accommodating so many time zones, and a great deal of travel. Still, I would continue to support and encourage anyone considering a career in the supply chain industry.