I interviewed Ashish Mendiratta who discussed Supply Chain Competencies.
Supply chain competencies, one of the key challenges of organizations are facing today, reasons being the business environment has changed dramatically over the last few years. We have seen the companies introducing many new products into the market, the emergence of ecommerce and omnichannel that have made life complex for everyone.
The technology has changed the way the business is being conducted, the way consumers buy products. So, in a nutshell, there is huge amount of reliability and unpredictability on one hand and complexity of managing the operations on the other.
However, companies have not focused on developing capability of people in supply chain to handle these challenges. People continue to operate in outdated linear fashion, where the supply chain flows used to happen sequentially.
The word is the consumers or the customers are unhappy, and the cost of bringing business is significantly high.
Therefore, some of the few capabilities which are very important in the current business environment are... The first one is the supply chain analytics - be it on the demand side or on the supply side or understanding where the money of the companies being spent and how it's being spent is really, really critical. In fact, given the kind of madness that is there in terms of unpredictability and reliability, and logistics is one such tool which can bring some method to this madness.
The next capability, which is acquired the supply chain people is deep business acumen. Most of the supply chain people think in different layers of demand, cost, inventory, etc. They do not have one complete view of the business, one completely integrated view of the business. And they do not apply the systems thinking approach.
So, their decisions are short term, and they are not really adding value to the business.
The next capability, which is acquired, is developing strategic relationships. Given the fact that supply chain really are the network of the organization, working as close partners, developing and nurturing relationships will enable seamless flows across your organization is very, very important.
The next capability for supply chain people is to be able to execute plans efficiently. We're seeing that companies make really good plans, but they're not executed the way it is supposed to be. So, this execution capability requires a careful balance between creating operating rhythm, like standard operating procedures, as well as being flexible without exposing the organization to major risk.
Finally, another capability which has become really important of late is managing supply chain risk and sustainability. Now, this capability is very, very important, because over the long run, we have seen that supply chain people have actually caused a major harm as a trade off to a shortened win. So, every decision a supply chain practitioner takes, needs not only to be seen through a lens of cost and service, but it also has to pass through the idea of sustainability.
So, these are a few important capabilities in the current business environment. The next question is what is the right way to develop these the competencies.
Traditionally, what we have seen is the approach which is adopted by the companies to conduct some training programs in the classroom, which is completely ineffective, and it has done nothing to the organization, added no value to the individuals as well.
What we follow in terms of the approach for competency developing is a three-phase approach. The first phase is the knowledge phase. The knowledge can be best delivered to the individuals using technology platform, like elearning, or providing them the learning material. You don't need to bring those individuals to the classroom to teach them the basic know-how. The adults learn best on their own, provided they are given the right learning material.
So, once the knowledge has been acquired by the individual, the next stage is the develop their skills. And this is best done by bringing the individuals into classroom or workshop and help them to apply the knowledge to certain situations using tools like simulations, exercises, role plays, and case studies.
So, it helps them to apply the knowledge in day-to-day real life cases. Having practiced the concepts in the workshop and developing those skills, the next phase is to assign them the light project on the job.
So, once the projects have been assigned, they are pushed the maintained by the subject matter experts, as well as the managers, to help them to achieve measurable results, as part of your projects.
This approach is highly effective, not only for the organizations or the companies. But it also raises the engagement level of people.
About Ashish Mendiratta
Founder at Advanchainge, Director at Thinklink
Supply Chain Services