How Much Of Your Brain Are You Using?

View From The Ridge: 61

June 17, 2016

John Moffitt

John Moffitt

Vice President, Sales

In my last article, I reflected on the Gartner Supply Chain Conference and the notion of developing a bimodal organization. I want to continue that thought and also challenge everyone to critically evaluate the utilization of your available supply chain planning tools. The person who uses their tools in the most efficient way will win.

Think about something that has a common platform- for example, NASCAR. Everyone’s car is the same: same profile, same dimensions, same engine constraints (one team actually makes the engines for several other teams), same tires, same fuel, and so on. With such a common platform, how does a team differentiate itself and consistently show up in the winner’s circle? It’s not dumb luck. It all comes down to how they use the tool set.

Winning teams have a mix of people- some of those being skilled technicians. In Gartner’s terms, these technicians would be the Mode #1 folks. They also have people who are constantly thinking of new ways to leverage the technology and get different results. The teams with a balanced mix of these people will win in the end. Others will start off unsuccessful, but will learn and improve, if they are willing to accept the fact that all new ideas are not winners.


I read a couple of articles that showed how much of our brain we actually use and the difference between the left-brain and right-brain thinkers. There is a myth that we only use about 10% of our brain. In my research, it appeared that the issue was not how much of the brain we used, but rather how effectively we use the entire brain. A left-brain thinker is someone who will take the tool, read the instructions and follow them explicitly. A right-brain thinker might take the approach of questioning why something is designed a certain way and how they might either use it better or for a purpose other than its original design. Let’s assume for a moment that everyone used the Blue Ridge Supply Chain Planning (SCP) solution to manage their inventory and demand planning process. That would be amazing. But seriously, how would you differentiate yourself?

I went through our solution and made a list of more than thirty distinctly different capabilities in the Blue Ridge solution. Not that you need to read all of these, nor is the list complete, but I put them here to use as a reference point (no particular order).

Every customer has someone whose responsibility is to manage day-to-day activities. Also, most companies probably have someone responsible for reporting on the performance elements in the system. The missing piece in many companies is the Mode #2 person, the right-brainer. I challenge each of you to do three things:

  1. Thoroughly Understand Features: understand how particular functions are designed to work and their intended use. The LifeLine team can help by working with you or validating what you already know. Just yesterday, I discovered how a specific feature worked that I thought I understood completely. Now that I know how and why it was designed the way it was, I can better understand the results.
  2. Evaluate Current Utilization vs. Purpose: compare the way you currently use a feature to how it was designed and its intended use. Some performance metrics, goals, etc., will be helpful here. Again, the LifeLine team can help. Be honest with yourself when evaluating how well you use the feature. The table above can be a guide on the discrete features you’re looking at. For example, don’t just look at Demand Forecasting, look at all of the features around the concept. You’ll find quite a few.
  3. Engage Mode #2: find it in yourself or get the Mode #2 person in your company, someone who is creative, predominately right-brained, and maybe doesn’t even use the system on a daily basis. Sometimes naiveté is a great position to generate new ideas. Develop alternative uses for a specific feature that might help to differentiate your company’s performance. Some will make sense, some will not. Some will work out well, while others won’t work at all. This process will move you forward in big steps- beyond the small steps of continuous improvement.

When we get to the point where everyone is using the Blue Ridge solution, you will have to win by using the system better than your competition. It may take some time for this to happen, but it’s not too late to work all of your brain, both left and right, and become a Mode #2 thinker. The benefits will help to differentiate you and, perhaps, help you to win race after race against your competitors (like the great NASCAR teams).

Good luck and reach out to Blue Ridge for our help in this challenge.