Supply Chain is team sport. On your team are not only your organization’s managers and operational employees, but also managers and employees of your customers, suppliers and 3rd party providers Just for fun, add constant change into the mix, that adds importance of everyone is in the mix.
It is strong passion of mine, to respect and empower everyone on the team.
Last week my essay was on the Supply Chain the Importance of You. Now add to this list the importance of everyone else. In this essay, I will go from the negative to positive as a way to working in this team environment.
The worst word in supply chain is the word “stupid”. If people are acting in a dysfunctional matter, making the supply chain more costly and dysfunctional, calling them lazy and stupid, while might give a moment of superiority, does not really get to the underlying causes of the problem. Most time when people are dysfunctional, it is because the process is also dysfunctional leading people to sub-optimize the process and sometimes worst. In working with others, a healthy curiosity on why they are doing what they are doing is a key to bringing about positive change to the situation or issue. My experience is that when you approach the issue from understanding and curiosity viewpoint, positive change can be accomplished.
In the real world, even obvious positive change sometimes runs into rigid roadblocks that prevent positive change. Because you cannot make change in one such situation, should not prevent one for changing the next one. Do not let one failure prevent you for having successes debugging situations in future issues.
“Change” is constant in supply chain. Processes which once work will need to be changed. To make change work two-way communication is always needed. In my career I saw many times top management imposing changes that field tried to ignore or sabotage because two-way communication was not done. Many times, no matter where you are the organization chart, you will need to instigate the communication. Communication to the field is why is this changed being proposed, and the return information needs to be heard and responded. Many times, relatively minor procedural changes can address these field issues. Sometimes these issues cannot be addressed. Nevertheless, if the communication is there, it is more likely the process change will go through.
Everybody on your supply chain team wants to be a success. One should always be concerned about one’s own success, but your success in the supply chain will also be dependent on how others perform and be successful. One needs to be aware of what makes others in the supply chain successful. To state the obvious, one can understand other people’s performance when you know what is driving their actions.
In some situation, delegating authority and empowering others in the supply chain will be a successful strategy. There is a little secret about delegating, that is not intuitively obvious. I did not figure out this until late in my career. Delegating is way to demand for the supply chain to perform better. It is way of being demanding “boss” in a positive way. Almost all of us have had a demanding boss who micromanaged everything you did. Nobody likes working in that stress filled environment. With active feedback and constructive comments empowering and delegating will work.
One of your jobs is to help your supervisors perform at a higher level. Your supervisor will appropriately ask you to meet organization goals and processes. Obviously, these have to be responded to for you to be successful in your job. Not so obvious, is your supervisor needs direction and information from you so she/he can be successful in their assignment. Communicating on the tasks and assignments the supervisor assigns you needs to be done. But the communication should not be limited by that. There will be issues, problems and opportunities you will see, which your supervisor might not that. By communicating these to your supervisor it increases that person’s success. Everybody benefits when others in the organization improve their processes.
It takes a great bit of operational and, people skill to make a supply chain work. By valuing people in your supply chain, both inside and outside the organization, it will make the job much easier to be successful in.