The Risk of Change.

Why I should probably change my coffee order.

· blog,marketing,logistics and systems

It might come as a surprise to you, but I didn't start drinking coffee until 2019. Till that point, I liked the smell and the foamy bit on top covered in chocolate. But the taste itself was a bit too similar to battery acid, which I've consumed in large amounts just for fun. 


Now though, it's a bit of a different story. Coffee has gone from an occasional social indulgence to being something I seek out when I'm bored. Use when I want an excuse to talk to someone. Or abuse as a stimulant because I can't find the motivation to open my eyes. 


There's something else that needs to be said here, something I'm not proud of, and that is that I like to drink Mocha. Yep, half coffee and half hot chocolate. Not only am I a failure of a man, but I'm also a giant child with a sweet tooth. 


Now, I've reached a crossroads in my life because I have to decide whether to continue this charade as a fake coffee drinker or switch to the proper stuff. Like a long black straight up, cold brew on ice, or a short shot to get me that hit so that I can get back into smashing the day - Harvey Spectre style. 


Becoming this level of man makes me question what I risk losing if I make the change. Sure, there are a lot of benefits to being like Harvey. The money, the women, the reputation. Great suits. Of course, I want all of these things. But if I become Harvey, will that mean Krystian becomes something unrecognizable? Can I live with that? Do I like that kind of change? 


The obvious questions are all kicking in; Why did I start reading this? Where is the delete button? Can I get the last two minutes of my life back? What the hell does any of this have to do with logistics? 


I have an answer to that last question because the concept I'm attempting to address here is - risk. Supply chains are all about risk, managing risk, understanding it, quantifying it, and COVID has highlighted supply chain risk management in a whole new way. 


And by that, I mean it's been amazing to hear so many public opinions about how supply chain's work. I had no idea the industry was so flush with experts. All of which seem to find their points perfectly made in the allocated six minutes they get on the Today show. 


Let's look at risk using my favourite example: the corner Milk Bar slash eatery. 


Right now, Milk Bars do not know how much bread to buy. If they buy too much, they might have to throw a lot of it into the bin. And if they buy too little, they might run out of stock, not sell anything, and not make money. This is the risk facing any Milk Bar and Bread Eatery Co during "normal" times. But right now, of course, their anxiety is compounded by not having confidence in what might happen next - thanks to the government making everything illegal (like customers showing up). 


Another visceral example of a supply chain in action can be seen with food delivery. Before leaving your house came with a standing risk of arrest, restaurants didn't have to worry about getting the food to you. You would come to the food. But as mentioned, that's all illegal now. So the apparent thing restaurants now need to do is deliver. 


How does a restaurant do that? Do they invest in drivers and cars, taking on risks with all of the associated costs? Do you use a service like UberEats or Deliveroo and risk a different kind of bankruptcy because of these platforms' ridiculous fees? 


Let's go back to my coffee dilemma. Doing nothing means I run the risk of dying alone in my trackies. For a restaurant, doing nothing means keeping the doors closed and running the risk of going out of business. 


If I change my coffee order, I might not like the taste, but the added respect and attention I stand to gain means my life has the potential to be meaningful. If a restaurant tries to deliver food to you and takes on the risk of screwing it up, the restaurant might not go broke. 


While doing something, in both scenarios, comes with a risk, the most dangerous thing would be to do nothing. 


The answer here in both scenarios seems obvious, man up and drink coffee like an adult, and if you're a restaurant that isn't already delivering - hurry up and do so.


Although the decisions, here and now, as they have been presented, sound obvious, they are not. Because both examples present very personal choices. How a restaurant operates takes objectivity, yes. The same as me, objectively needing to find a girlfriend. But in both cases, how that restaurant works and how I attempt to convince a girl to date me directly reflect the individual. 


Think back to a good and memorable restaurant experience, and you'll probably remember the personal touch. The jokes a waiter or waitress pulled on you, the complimentary drink, the flattering comment you didn't expect but nonetheless appreciated. These are all reflections of the restaurant owner, the management team, and the frontline staff. Reflections of people. People who have invested themselves into caring about you and giving you attention in the best way they feel they can. 


You see this all around Melbourne coffee shops - whichever ones are left at least - and the point is that how an organization works is a critical component of why people show up. 


So even though the objective reality says to take on doing deliveries. The real risk is changing the business in a way that makes the decision-makers uncomfortable. The perceived implications (risks) of a decision on the make-up of an organization. This idea and the insecurities around it guides many a business decision - and yes, it took this long in the piece to make my point. 


I've personally seen this affect projects both big and small. Where the objective and obvious decision might be staring everyone in the face, but it's not the one chosen. Because the idea put forward is too far outside of the status quo, in other words, it's too far outside the realm of "this is how we do things". 


So on the topic of risk and thinking of ways to change your business. Before you get to the nuts and bolts of "which change do I make", "how much will it cost", "do I have the team to do it", or "where's the project plan". You stand to lower your risk of failure by thoroughly asking yourself and the people you have to work with - if the change you are contemplating is personally acceptable.


With all that said, I'm going to go and get a coffee.