In the past, companies could develop a competitive advantage that lasted for years. Now, however, a company is lucky if a competitive advantage lasts for more than a few months. Lowell Yarusso and Ronald Sanderson bring up this point to help illustrate how supply chains need to apply this same mode of thinking: how can a supply chain create competitive advantage (and maintain it). The article suggests 6 keys to create and sustain advantage, including this one about treating the issue in a supply chain, and not the symptom: The same process should be used with the supply chain. A small set of key metrics should be monitored on an ongoing basis to confirm the health of the supply chain. If the key metrics reveal an overt symptom of something gone awry, the supply chain professional needs to analyze the key metrics, gather additional data and craft a response that gets at the underlying issues. If, for example, a key metric reveals an increase in missed shipments from suppliers, the fix is not to expedite product but to determine why there has been an increase (receiving issues, freight issues, vendor performance and so on). While this seems obvious, many companies do not include root-cause analysis as part of their operations and, consequently, frequently treat symptoms rather than causes.Other keys include: recognizing the complex (but managing the simple), remembering the goal, and collaborating instead of competing. While all of these keys are great, the big take-away is that whatever advantage you achieve needs to be sustained. Building a perfect running supply chain that only lasts a day isn’t an advantage, after all.