Simplicity – The Ultimate Sophistication

by May 16, 2019Business Trends, Supply Chain Finance

Business trends are notoriously faddish. One week, the gurus, high-profile CEO’s, pundits and social media stars are talking about flat organizations and empowerment as the solution to all business’ ills. The next week, the bandwagon has moved on to open floor plans, no offices, team building arcade games, matrix management and six sigma. Cycles ensue, old ideas are revived; dressed up and resold with different labeling – and sometimes they even come back from the dead exactly as they were. Why does this happen? Because fads matter.

Often, they capture true tendencies and point towards meaningful solutions. Total quality management (TQM), for example, was the hot fad of the early 1990s (see The Gold Standard blog post where I discuss the practice of Kaizen) and it contained real value. Some trends that have real value are actual business axioms, such as “customer first”; while other trends are forced attempts to mimic something essentially idiosyncratic, something that worked for a specific company that had a great team with great chemistry at a particular point in time – phenomena of this nature are hard if not impossible to recreate.

Business trends and fads sometimes gain immortality and live on in perpetuity in the form of acronyms, initialisms, and clichés that get absorbed into our business vernacular. And while commonly used, they have essentially lost their meaning or purpose for being. They rarely add value and instead exist as mere sound bites. Why does this happen? How can a business axiom hold no value? Typically this phenomenon occurs because “saying” and “doing” are two very different behaviors. Unfortunately, people often put form over, or even in the place of substance. It’s one thing to say something, it’s entirely another to execute something, let alone execute that something well. Adding to this challenge is that typically, successful execution not only requires action but often demands talent, skill and self-awareness. In the end, while known good universal business practices and principles appear simple, they are often incredibly difficult to execute well, let alone, execute well on a continuous and consistent basis.

Keep It Simple Stupid.

KISS was a design principle adopted by the U.S. Navy in the 1960s for its engineers. The idea is that most systems work best if they are kept simple; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in designunnecessary complexity should be avoided. There was no implication that these engineers were “stupid”; just the opposite – the designed simplicity serves to eradicate the opportunity for stupidity. 50 years later this principle continues to live on within the U.S. Navy and beyond. In the book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, one of their “Laws of Combat” is:

SIMPLE: Combat, like anything in life, has inherent layers of complexities. Simplifying as much as possible is crucial to success. When plans and orders are too complicated, people may not understand them. And when things go wrong, and they inevitably do go wrong, complexity compounds issues that can spiral out of control into total disaster.

At Artis, the KISS principle is not lip service. It’s our design standard. We believe a simple, intuitive user experience is required for a successful Supply Chain Finance program. Although simplicity is not always easy to attain and maintain, simplicity is key. With our solution ArtisPay, we view simplicity as foundational to our mission and purpose – not only at the user level but to the benefits an SCF program brings to Lenders, Buyers and Suppliers. We take the complex nature of Supply Chain Financing and simplify the process by providing a highly intuitive, adaptive platform that grows and evolves with experience. Our task engine spoon feeds users their required actions, helping us in our continuous pursuit of making ArtisPay foolproof. We are constantly striving to uncomplicate what is inherently complex. With ArtisPay, Supply Chain Finance is simple.