If the cunning foxes can do it, so can you!

Sam Phipps

Last updated: April 17, 2023
Sam Phipps

In case you haven’t heard, Leicester City Football Club shocked the world by going on to lift the premier league trophy. Following a narrow escape from relegation last season, 2016 has seen the team do a complete U-turn and become one of just 6 teams to win the title.

As most of Leicester woke up blurry eyed and bushy (fox) tailed from the weekend’s celebrations, many teams and perhaps even a few fans were left bewildered by what must be football’s most important fairy tale. Given the speed at which Claudio Ranieri, Leicester’s manager and now local hero, managed to turn around the performance of Leicester City, what can businesses take from this success to improve the performance of their supply chains?

Strategic simplicity

During his time as manager of Greece, Ranieri was reportedly dismissed following a humiliating defeat against the Faroe Islands. Likewise, as Chelsea’s head coach, he was criticised for over complicating the dynamics of the team and his persistent team changes led to him being nicknamed “The Tinkerman.” Unsurprisingly however, there are few left questioning his leadership style at Leicester.

In contrast to his reputation, the former Italy international player has been recognised for pursuing a brilliantly simple strategy at Leicester. From Leicester’s straightforward formation to the focus on team ethic, it seems Ranieri has done everything in his power to take the team back to basics. While others unsuccessfully adopted complicated tactics to win, Leicester’s approach has been truly refreshing.

If you consider the level of complexity in which businesses today contend with, something has to be said about Leicester’s relentless ability to surprise the competition with solid team work and a strong winning mentality.

Given the growing number of channels to market, rapid emergence of disruptive technology and increasingly demanding customer expectations, complexity will enviably continue to increase. In order to not only remain competitive but to thrive, it is vital that businesses take steps to manage business challenges. Whether it be the processes, team or technology, as found by Leicester, finding ways to simplify the challenges is not a bad place to start.

Consistency is key

At the start of the season, Leicester were at 5000/1 to win the league while Chelsea were the clear favourites. Given that Chelsea managed to win just 12 of their 38 clashes, it is no surprise that the former champions managed to achieve a disappointing 10th position in the table. In contrast, Leicester won an impressive 23 of their games, conceding only 3 games in the entire season. For the cunning foxes, it seems consistency has been the key to their success.

Much like how football fans demand consistently strong performances from their team, for supply chain managers, ensuring that their operations are able to meet the demands of their customers should be the corner stone of everything they do. Unlike football however, delivering consistently high service levels can come at a great cost in terms of investment in stock. As a result, it is vital that supply chain leaders ensure service level targets are well aligned to both the requirements of their customers as well as the wider corporate goals.

When talent meets teamwork

Unlike many of the other teams in the Premier League, Leicester did not have the financial clout to invest in Football’s most sought after players. Instead, the scouting team had the daunting task of finding and recruiting undiscovered talent and youth players who didn’t quite make the cut for their incubator clubs. Regardless of how talented a player is however, in order to build a league winning team, it’s crucial to have in place an effective development process that both harnesses and progresses talent.

For supply chain management, talented professionals are in high demand. As businesses increasingly shift their focus towards improving supply chain performance, it is likely that the already short supply of experienced professionals will become even more stretched. The questions for businesses now, is what can they do to maximise the potential of their existing team as well as help new team members hit the ground running?

Follow in the foxes footsteps

If nothing else, Leicester’s title win has highlighted that, with the right focus, everyone has the capacity to succeed. As Leicester prepare to defend their title as well as take on Europe, what will you do to help your business defy expectations?

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