Leadership Challenges in Supply Chain
Companies are constantly revisiting strategy, goals, culture and organisation. Classic management methods are increasingly becoming obsolete. Simple schemata of categories and management models no longer work in a world that is connected and complex. Restrictive thinking and management models like “department,” create constraints to progress in today’s organisations. Leadership tools and skills formerly used are not as effective as they used to be.
The success of companies across the globe and their supply chains in an uncertain and inconsistent environment is no longer dependant only on the effectiveness of their processes and organisational structures. An organisation’s success is determined by its employees and management who design the supply chain system.
Investigation of the challenges of human resource management worldwide found that employees are not committed to a company because of profitability but are connected to the vision.
As a leader, it is then perceived necessary to question oneself and one’s own vision. Leaders must think globally and focus locally to lead diverse teams with significant differences, such as the interests of different generations in the workplace.
Leaders no longer have to be purely technically qualified but do need to be able to be open minded, create trust, be reliable, act as role models and have a robust value system that guides. This is a rare skill set which raises a few valid questions. What can leaders do to succeed in the global supply chain competition? What would it take to reconcile appreciation and create value? The challenge would be to go forward in a planned goal-oriented manner while being open to change.
The supply chain being a complex, self-organised and self-preserving system cannot be externally controlled nor is the play of events predictable by a root-cause-and-effect mechanism. Instead, communication plays the central role in the supply chain system. Having a detailed vision often serves as a guideline for all independent action. The performance level of supply chain management also depends on how adaptive SCM processes are and the level of integration between them.
Effective supply chain leaders must become aware of the four key levels of their leadership role. These are lead yourself, lead others, lead the business and lead the supply chain.
A successful supply chain leader would actively shape all of them.