Transforming People for Supply Chain Excellence

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Sir Richard Branson

The tell-tale sign of Supply Chain’s sub-optimal performance points out to gross deficit in People skill set. Complacency seeps in with years of employment and absolute lack of external benchmarking practices. Among the pillars for transformation, People will be the decisive factor to succeed in Process and Technology. There are innumerable instances to quote from the corporate world on how People can turn the tables.

As a consultant for various corporates, I get an opportunity to interact with Supply Chain team members in a neutral ambience for several hours (sometimes days). I spot out the Super Good performers quite easily and usually track their career progression right after that. Within a few quarters, they either opt for a new employer or change their field. Although corporates take several steps to retain the talent, not all bear the fruits.  The greatest opportunity lies in the external connect which enables seamless understanding of the sectoral and cross-vertical practices. This connect should not be once in a blue moon but needs to be every day to cope up with the market dynamics.

Does your organization encourage learning ecosystem? If the answer is “no”, the questions below deserve answers for validating and recommending the relevant external connect to People within the organization.

  • Is the external group diverse with Supply Chain professionals in terms of experience, geography etc?
  • Is there a digital platform where daily updates on trending subjects are shared?
  • Can the participants get a trustworthy solution within a short time on the day to day challenges?
  • Is the group free from commercial interest?
  • Is there an unbiased body to facilitate only relevant & reliable flow of information?
  • Will there be a mechanism to measure the People skill set on trending skills?
  • Will there be opportunities to progress as a speaker, contributor, mentor, assessor through this external group?
  • Does this group encourage intrapreneurship so that People continue to learn by being in the same workplace?
  • Is there a periodical opportunity to listen to industry veterans through talk shows for further enhancing knowledge?

Benefits to Corporates for letting People connect with external Supply Chain professionals:

  • Win in the age of temporary advantage
  • Transform Supply Chain through non-linear leaps
  • Plug and play “desired” behaviour from other industry verticals where that behaviour is “normal”
  • Look beyond peer group for best practices
  • Tap opportunities as it is spotted
  • Move beyond conventional approaches on cost optimization and service level improvement
  • Reward and retain talent through upskilling on the move
  • Above all, realise global service levels at local cost

Benefits for People in Supply Chain team:

  • Continuous learning and engagement
  • Upskill in line with the market dynamics
  • Take part in writing blogs, mentoring and hence contribute to Supply Chain fraternity
  • Adopt global best practices and apply for local scenarios
  • Connect with the best talents in the industry

Initiatives on transformation need to start with People. Rightly so, the external connect can bring about the change and help organizations to achieve sustainable growth.

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” – Peter Drucker

This article is authored by Venkatesh Seshadri, Head-Supply Chain Consulting, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *